Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jamaican Shell

On a trip to Montego Bay Jamaica in 1999 I brought an extra suitcase. I had every intention of purchasing items for the still lifes I was painting at that time. I was looking at several items, but became irritated at the pushy vendors begging us to come into their space in the market. I managed to ignore them while photographing the wood carver hard at work. When he noticed, he started the banter of "hey mon". I still was not impressed, but wanted to purchase some items from this market area. To the side, there was a woman alone with her wares beautifully displayed and smiling at me. She greeted me when I came to her and quietly asked me in. What a breath of fresh air! She was not at all pushy and very helpful in getting items for my childrens presents. I also purchased some beautiful shells from her. This is one of those shells. She said it was a locally collected specimen. I also purchased a conch from her and a starfish. They have all been featured in several paintings.
These are both 4 x 12 acrylic on canvas, Days 94 & 95 of the 100 Days ~ 100 Paintings

Saturday, October 5, 2013

She Sells Seashells.......................

"Lacy Murex Back"
"Lacy Murex Front"
"Queen Scallop"
"Sand Dollar"


Never without collectors for shells andI will never tire of painting them. The are two more to this collection to be posted later today. Each of these beauties measures 8 x 8 deep edge canvas.
These paintings represent days  87~94 of the 100 Days ~100 Paintings. This year is rapidly coming to a close with the 100 paintings finishing up during the beginning of the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama starting October 10th, 2013.
I will continue on this year though, maybe not posting a daily painting, but new pieces in the works down the line.
Come join me for new adventures in the Raccoon Retreat studio in Beautiful Fairhope, Alabama.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Honoring the Elder

          This painting has a lot going on even though ti is only 12 x 12!
 Honoring the Elder shows two turtles, one larger and older above the younger one below.  Turtles not only honor each other, they just stay out of the way! They have been known to bite one another if there is food involved!
Honoring the Elder 12 x 12 Acrylic on deep edge canvas day 86 of the 100 Days~100 Paintings
Only 14 more days till set up for National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores , Alabama!


        Peaceful is a 20 x 20 canvas painting of a turtle. This year was my first as a share the beach volunteer. I walked the beach early in the morning right as the sun was rising to scout for turtle nests. or evidence of them. I never found one this year but there's always next year! The one thing I did get to do this year was witness a turtle "boil". It is an amazing thing to watch, once these little guys decide to hatch there lots of noises in the nest, waterfalls is what they are called. Then they appear at the top scrambling for the sea. That is if there are no lights on the beach! They follow the lights from the condos or the moonlight streaming into the trenches built just for them. The first time I witnessed a boil, there was a full moon and they kept trying to go back up the beach. I was on my belly turning them around over and over until finally we put a towel over the trench and they went to the water. Those that were too exhausted to walk any more got a ride in the "turtle taxi" a bucket that transports them to the edge of the ocean. Their lives are hard with an average of only one turtle making it to adulthood from each nest. Most nests average about 100 eggs!
This painting marks day 85 of the 100 days~100 Paintings

Here's looking at you kid!

         I always wondered what that turtle was thinking as it built it's nest on top of me while staying on the beach in the Philippines.
         Let me back up, and tell the story..................................
         My parents would night dive while we were in the Philippines. As least my father would, my mother was too scared of the sharks! She said she wanted to see them coming so she did not dive after dark. This night my dad was out looking while with his buddies for lobsters at night. Mom told me to go to bed. Bed on the beach was a parachute tucked into the cliff, pulled out and sand thrown on the opposite edge. It really was fun to sleep under the billowing orange fabric. That night, as with every night, the villagers had a burning barrel with a huge fire blazing out from it The Tent was located a little ways down the beach, but the fire was still quite visable so I turned my back to the water and fire while trying to go to sleep. I felt sand thrown on me, but just complained about the person coming in the tent being rude. I felt sand again and still not turning over, said would you please stop! When it happened yet again, I turned to tell the person to cut it out and realized there was a full grown mama turtle in the tent with me throwing sand while she was building her nest. She was in a trance, but I was not, running as fast as my 7 year old legs could carry me to my mother, all the time yelling about the turtle in the tent. She did not believe me and followed me to tuck me in for the night. Boy was she surprised!

Here's looking at you kid! 4 x 12 acrylic on canvas

Taking his chances

          I became hooked on Lobster while living in the Philippines. When my parents went diving, it was a treat to see them come up with one of these guys in their clutches. I regarded it like steak back then. I still love the flavor of a properly cooked lobster, dipped in lemon butter and served with a baked potato and salad! The ones they would catch were big enough that I could make a meal out of the claws. One of my fondest memories of my mother was when she would et Lobster or crab, using her fingernails to pull the meat from the shell!
         Called ,"Taking his chances" this lobster has come out from under the ledge and is taking his life in his claws. They hide under the shelf, waiting for an unsuspecting creature to come by unawares, and becoming his dinner! But while out from under the shelf, he becomes exposed, and may himself become the catch of the day!
         The Florida Keys are where to go for lobster near here. While we were down there, we saw numerous traps ready for the season that was to come. We saw a couple of them while we were skin diving at John Pennencamp. It is the largest reef in the United States, located in one of the first islands in the chain called the keys.
"Taking his Chances" Loster 20 x 20 acrylic on canvas

Clownin' Around

One of my memories from the Philippines was the clown fish swimming in the reefs. They were able to hang out with their 'hosts' the sea anenome without being stung! I always thought that was so cool. We had one of these guys in our saltwater tank that was on the counter at the house. I do not remember what happened to the tank, but I am sure one of dads friends was happy to take it off his hands when we had to leave.
Clownin' around 12 x 12 acrylic on deep edge canvas day 82 of the 100 days

Ready to eat!

     One of my bucket list things to do is go deep sea fishing. I want to catch and release whatever the deep sea brings. I also want to photograph the other people fishing as well as their "catches". I am a firm believer in eating what I catch or when I was younger managed to shoot when hunting. Otherwise I love the thought of releasing these beautiful big game fish. A few years back I was asked to paint a cover for the Mobile Big Game Fishing Book. I had a great time executing, painting and seeing the piece to it's completion and eventual sale. I would also love doing another cover as the one I did was so much fun to paint!
Ready to Eat is 20 x 20 Acrylic on canvas. Day 81 of the 100 Days~100 Paintings

Simply Sandy

             I want to call them Ghost crabs, my husband calls them sand crabs. They are fun to watch when they are bickering about their little territories. Shoving lots of sand and fighting with their claws! It is east=y to find them at night, during the day thay are very cagey about coming out of their holes. This little guy was so confused after he came out, running himself to exhaustion under an umbrella on the beach. Catching his breath and then running to find a hole in the sand. I only hope he did not run into another crab below!
 Simply Sandy Acrylic on canvas 8 x 8 deep edge. day 80 of the 100 Days

Blue Men and their Lady

Just try me!
Blue Man Too!

Blue Man

These three crabs were fun to paint as well. No I will never tire of painting them, they always sell! Do you know how to tell if a crab is male or female? It's easy! The girls "paint their nails"!
Blue Man, and Blue Man Too! are both 5 x 5 the Just try me! is 12 x 12 All three deep edge canvas
These are days 76, 77, and 79 of the 100 Days~100 Paintings

Dreaming of far off lands

Those of you that read the blog, know that I spent a couple of years in the Philippines. Recently, I had memories of the islands come back andvisit my dreams. The Islands are where I swam in warm blue waters, had a sea turtle build a nest on top of me, and learned the fine art of skin diving while playing in my parents bubbles from their scuba tanks.
I became very concerned about the local children having no clothes, so when I outgrew mine, I took them to the village near Subic Bay. Tony was our Bonka Boat captain and I played with the children while they swam in the sea. The other children swam in the buff, while I did not go any further than my underwear! We all became brown little nuts roasting in the abundant sunshine. My memory of the clothes is seeing the paper bag they were in torn to shreds and the cowboy boots within causing a huge fight among the children. Two seperate kids grabbed the boots, claiming them as their own and the battle was on. The villagers settled the matter by determining which child could fit in the boots. The shoes were then passed on to several children as they grew into them. I imagine the boots lasted long after I was gone, until they fell completely to pieces. I am certain the pieces were then used to make something else useful. 
Palms 1, 2 & 3 as well as the path to the village are all memory paintings they measure 3 x 9
These are days 72, 74, 75, and 76 of the 100 days~100 Paintings.
Sorry for the disjointed posting, I cannot figure out what is going on with the set up!

Palms 1

Palms 2

The path to the village

      Don't you wish you knew what they were thinking? Crabs are so interesting to me, with all their parts and pieces. These paintings are small, 4 x 12 They are days 70, 71, & 72 of the 100 Days~100 Paintings.


Crabs Galore!

                  My mother once asked me, Don't you get tired of painting crabs? Never I replied!

So Crabby
Not so Crabby

Crabby Too

Feeling Crabby

Crosses and Creativity

Medallion Cross 2

I loved painting the many textures and shapes of this one!
Medallion Cross

Using the combination of Fleur De Lys and almost Byzantine figures, this cross is beautiful!
Knotted Cross

Combining Celtic forms again. They remind me of the knots Sailors use on the ships. I guess that is why I am so Fascinated with painting them. My father could do a mean Monkeys fist!
Good Luck Cross

Luck of the Irish combining both Celtic knots and the shamrock.
Fleur De Lys Cross

Fleur De Lys are a common theme in many peoples homes right now and I love to paint them!
Celtic Cross

For those that join me in the Raccoon Retreat studio know that the music can vary widely. I have a Pandora Station that plays Movie theme music and quite frequently, Celtic comes up. I also love painting these crosses in all their shapes and beauty.
Multiple Crosses Days 60-65 of the 100 Days~100 Paintings all measuring 8 x 16

Rainforest Room~Days

The Main Wall with Signage "The Rainforest"

 Located at Celebration church in Fairhope, Alabama, this mural was a labor of Love. It took two weeks total, but only about 40 hours. Without the help of some really great people from the church, I would have been much longer! I am grateful to share my talents with  

Just Hangin'

                this  place we call our church home and I am
                grateful for the talents God has seen fit to
                bestow upon me. The top piece is the main
                wall as you walk into the room. The flora are 
                under the window. The different monkeys
                and birds were a delight to paint.
                There is much more in the room to look
                at and explore, but you have to
                come to Fairhope to see it!

Macaws Together

This post marks days 54~59 of the 100 Days~100 Paintings
Rainforest Room

The view by the window

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Turtle Times and firsts, lasts, and surprises!

A closer look~Day 49
In Quiet Silence~Day 50

Sassy~Day 51

Taking you in~Day 52

Taco's Release~Day 53
This has been a summer of firsts, lasts, and lots of surprises!
This is the first Summer without my mother to call when things are good or bad. I still have  supernatural peace about her passing away so suddenly, but I still want to call her up and share the happenings here at the Raccon Retreat Studio in Fairhope. This is the first Summer (at least part of it) without My youngest daughter, Christina. She moved to India for a teaching position at an International School. This season of firsts brought me to a couple of bucket list checkmarks as well. I joined and participated in the"Share the Beach" program watching for turtle nests along our beaches. I observed and played a small part in the hatching and boil of 107 baby loggerhead turtles just this past week. Participation included a flying trip to the beach at 8:30 at night, donning gloves and turning baby turtles around as they headed for the Condos rising above us with their brilliant lights. The turtles also were herded with a beach towel and rode in a "turtle taxi".
 This is also the first Summer that we have anticipated the arrival of a grandchild. Our Grandson was born in the middle of August and has already had his first professional photo shoot at the tender age of 9 days. This is my first summer of major commissions and short timelines. This was also my first art camp conceived, executed and run my myself. (With much assistance by my partner in art, Chris Chavez) This was Chris's first experience of an all day, almost no holds barred, we can do it all art submersion. He survived with an ease I never expected. That being said there were several helpers that also contributed their talents for many hours and art camp would not have been the same without them. I also joined in a study of the chapter of James that was enlightening indeed! I have been led to start a married couples small group in the Fall as well as continue the  Scripts & Strokes on Mondays.
The firsts have been wonderful,but sometimes difficult and I have grown so much because of them.
This has also been a summer of lasts. The last time to say goodbye to Christina as she left for the flights that took her so far away. Not to say we will not see her again, but this move did seem so final with her getting rid of childhood toys and collections. (It brought back memories of my own childhood, getting rid of precious "things" before we made another military move)Watching my adult child have near meltdowns from the stress of moving to a foreign country, watching her sell her memories, and helping her pack the 8 bags it took to move. The bags contained only part of her wardrobe, shoes, purses, makeup, art supplies, lesson plans, artworks to decorate her new place, and just stuff in general. It was a last, but also a first for her with a sense of finality in chasing her dreams. I am so proud of her for all she has accomplished so far and I know she will go much further before she is done with this first contract. We also had a last at the house in Mobile where Christina called home. This house was our family place before everyone grew up and grew away. We are currently packing the leftovers from the house and handing the keys over to my brother who will be renting it soon with intentions to buy it! (A first for him, he is so excited to finally be able to own something rather than rent!)
The surprises have also been a part of the heat here on the coast. The first surprise was the reception of the work Visa Christina needed to make her final plans for India. It gave us only 6 weeks to do everything needed to complete her passage!The second surprise being that my brother wanted to attempt to purchase the house in Mobile. He said it shyly at first, but is rapidly taking ownership by adding crown molding, an electric stove, and plans to move the front door to the end of the porch! The surprises continued with commissions out of the blue, major art purchases by clients new and old, murals at our church, and the arrival of our grandchild a week early!
I am happy with the fact that God carries me through all these happenings. (There was much more than I can put here, it would put you to sleep and you would stop reading the blog I am afraid!) My relationship with God, my husband, my family, and my church has continued to grow and blossom, giving me strength to do things I never thought I could. I have spent many times this summer working harder than I ever thought possible and have found the willpower to move on and still make art!
The art continues despite 'life' getting in the way.
I am so pleased that you have come to visit and hope you have plans to return soon!
These 5 pieces catch me up on days 49~53 of the 100 days ~100 paintings with many more to come! I cannot believe that the Festival season is almost upon me with acceptance into no less than 4 shows along the coast that we call home.More on these later!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


          I love to go sailing or kayaking as it affords me the opportunity to photograph wildlife. Fortunately, I have a husband that lets me take photos rather than paddle! Ir has afforded me the luxury of getting great shots while on the water. We have also been known to drive to areas to photograph and even planning vacations around taking pictures for references. I look forward to our next adventure while on the water!

"Silence" 16 x 40 Oil on Canvas Day 48 of the 100 days.

High Stepper

          "High Stepper" is one of several shorebirds paintings I have created over the months and years. This one is in Oil on Canvas and is 12 x 24. I love to paint both water and birds that live on the coast!
Painting in Oil and a painting a day presents many challenges, not the least of which is where to place your hand while painting details wet into wet!
"High Stepper" Oil on Canvas 12 x 24 Day 47 of the 100 Days ~100 Paintings.