Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Bubble shell

Today's offering is from thousands of feet in the air! ( if this wifi works, that is!)
I am currently on a plane headed to India and it really blows my mind that I can actually blog from here. We  live in such a connected age, so many prople that can know each other through modern technology.  I can remember the computer on base that my father showed me when I was about 9. The computer took up the entire floor of a building and the floor below was the cooling system!
My mind is officially blown!

Bubble shell mini, acrylic on canvas,  4x4
Day 58 of the 100 days-100 paintings 2018.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Conch mini

Conch shell mini.
I have been in love with conch's for years. I purchased one while we were in Jamaica. 
The fluting on the shell is so beautiful, folds of the home that the creature occupied.
Layer upon layer of hard covering, protection against the dangers of the deep.
The biggest danger to conchs I believe is man. There is even an annual hunt with an allowance per person down in Florida. I have had conch fritters while visiting down in Florida, it is a must when you are down there. I can't say I liked them, they were very chewy.
They really reminded me of clams, tough and almost like chewing rubber bands.

To each his own!

Conch shell mini, Acrylic on canvas, 4x4 inches
Day 57 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sand dollar mini

I've never been lucky enough to find a sand dollar larger than about an
 inch in size here on the Gulf Coast.
Like many of you, I've found pieces of the much larger shells, 
usually so battered and broken as to be hard to tell if they are really sand dollars.
Usually in the Spring, May to be exact, I'll find several of them on our pre-dawn walks for sea turtle nests. Chris and I did find a rather large one off the coast of Florida. At first, I thought it was a piece of Oil sludge from the spill off the Louisiana coast. Turns out it was a large live sand dollar. The best part of all was that it was the most beautiful shade of purple I've ever seen!

 As you can see it was about 5 inches across!
We carefully returned it to the sea.
Wonderful memories of Coya Costa off the island of Sanibel, Florida.

Sand Dollar Mini, Acrylic on canvas 4x4
Day 56 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Saturday, August 25, 2018

It's all about the trees....

This is part I of the painting commission for a collector.
She has this wonderful idea to put the two paintings above her cabinets in the open kitchen. 
Once I saw the photos of this view from her front door, 
I could see why she wanted to bring the trees inside.
One canvas is longer than the other to fill the space. 
This one is 43 inches x 21. 
The second piece will be 55 x 21. 
This client is so gracious, allowing me to finish the second piece when I come 
home from India at the end of September.
It is also in a custom sepia color, more brown than the one I am currently using for my series.
I love pushing the limits of value in this piece and I am looking forward to the second one!

It's all about the trees I, Acrylic on custom built canvas, 21 x 43
Day 55 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Friday, August 24, 2018

Great Atlantic Cockle

Great Atlantic Cockle shell. More commonly found off the coasts of Florida than our Alabama Coast.
Interesting things about Cockles.
Most are edible.
The larger ones can "jump" by throwing their foot out of the shell.
When viewed from the side, they look like a heart!
Also very pretty.

Today was another long day!
I started out determined to get the booth done today.......
First, I had to put hangers and wire on several artworks. Then I started lugging down the artworks from the studio. Several trips up and down the stairs holding multiple pieces, while praying I didn't have a dachshund get in the way! I then took the covers outside to the shop and Chris helped me to get them on the panels. We then dug out the tent and set it up under the pecan tree, thinking it would be cooler. (An aside note, nothing is cooler during the month of August in the deep South!)
We then tried to attach the panels using the strap system. I came up with them after a lot of thought, but I have had to adjust all 22 of them twice already! We then realized every strap had to be removed and turned over in order to work the way I intended. Out came the tarp, and we flipped them all in the correct direction (which involved a screwdriver). Once done with that, we put the panels in place, and then the booth became a cohesive work of art in itself. 
I then realized the panels not going to the ground were going to be a problem, so I temporarily tucked in scraps of the fabric used to make the covers. I will have another project adding velcro to each one of the covers, with a "skirt" at the bottom. This will solve two problems, the covers will be closed on to the frames, and the bottom of the panels will be covered so nothing is visible to the sides or back of the booth.
Keep in mind I was doing this under the watchful eyes of the pack of 5 dachshunds we have here at the house. For some reason they wanted to be really close today. I even had to physically remove one of them, and she promptly laid down on the pieces of fabric I was using!

I then had to work on the layout of the limited artwork I have here at the house.
I took my time putting pieces up and was pleased with the result.
I ate my sandwich while studying the result.
I remembered a show that requires it to be a blind jury, no names anywhere.
My signature is kind of hard to miss on a white background.
I got out my white Artists tape and covered each signature.
I photographed it and then put it on a facebook page of other artists
that offer their opinion about the result. 
The advice is, photograph, post, leave the booth up and adjust.
I posted, and got an immediate response, the black straps were distracting, 
make the showpiece of sea turtles stand alone on the back wall. 
Move turtles down about 6 inches. 
(have they not seen that it is 5 canvases, you can't just shift that easily.)
Black straps? 
The straps that have been a headache from the get go?
I have to admit, it seems like a small thing, but I covered them temporarily with white duct tape.
It already looked better.
I then moved the artwork as suggested.
By then, the booth had sunlight streaming in and I had to wait to photograph again.
Fortunately, I have a husband that is willing to help with a tarp and pole!
We also dug out lights? 
In the daytime?
The lights helped.
I am so tired right now.
If you've read this far, here's the best husband in the world!

Oh, and that PANEL BOOTH SHOT!

I am very happy with the result, although there is still work ahead to do!
The artwork really does show up better!

Day 54 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018
Great Atlantic Cockle, Acrylic on canvas, 6x6

Thursday, August 23, 2018

A mother's love

A mother's love knows no bounds. Even a giraffe mother's love!
Giraffes are pregnant for 15 months!
During birth, the baby falls about 6ft to the ground from the mother.
Talk about a rude awakening! It actually helps with the birth process, breaking the umbilical cord and the amniotic sack. The actual landing on the ground stimulates the baby to take it's first breath.
A baby giraffe is 6 feet tall at birth. Most are ready to walk within an hour. They also must learn to run by the end of their first day in the wild, to prevent being eaten by a hungry lion.
The babies weigh about 100 pound at birth.

Giraffe have also exhibited grieving at the death of a baby. One researcher found 23 females surrounding a baby after it's death. They will sniff it, kick it, and then stand nearby to guard the body. Maybe they think it will come back?
Who knows...

A mother's love, Acrylic on canvas 12 x 24
Day 53 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Fighting conch

Fighting Conch is a member of the Mollusk family.
They are called Fighting Conchs not because of their temperament, but because of the shape of their shell looking like a helmet. They are also unusual because of the two dips that allow their eye stalks to come out, but not expose the main part of their body. This is safer for the conch overall in protecting the main body of the animal. 
They are a pretty shell, and a part of my collection from Sanibel Island off the coast of Florida.

Shells are some of my favorite things to paint.
I love to follow the shape of the shells with my brush, making the contours come to life.

Fighting Conch, 6x6 Acrylic on canvas
Day 52 of the 100 days~100 paintings

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

African Elephant

I have for years painted marine life with quite a bit of success.
Today however, I was inspired to create something different.

I read an another article about the poaching and killing of elephants in Africa and 
as usual it saddened me greatly.
There are many animals being exploited for their holistic properties, their hides, or purely as a trophy for a hunter. How the random killing of animals has become so easily watched or read about baffles my sensitivity. 

Our society has become numb to the mistreatment of animals. Abandonment, outright cruelty, and just plain not taking care has become the new normal.
However there are a few of us that speak up, stand up, and help when they can.
The sad thing is, it is not only animals that have become the forgotten in our society and on the whole, our world.

After watching the movie, Machine Gun Preacher, (the Sam Childers story) I realized that one person can make a difference. While I do not condone the actions of this sinner turned preacher then mercenary, I understand his why. The children were being exploited, horrifically mistreated, and turned into soldiers against their will. He built an orphanage for these children. 
In his own way while fighting his own demons, he became a saving grace.
He also shows that one person can make a difference.

I have a couple of people in my circle that are doing the same thing. 
One person making a difference is the 
director of Buy a Brick, Gib Leonard
This is from his website

In June 2004, I  traveled to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe on a mission trip with a few members of our church, Providence in McLean, Va.  I personally was touched by the love of the people, the friendly happy hearts that each one seemed to have towards life. As I looked around, I continued to see more and more people with this wonderful attitude, though living in poverty, with high unemployment, school buildings that were falling down, schools that needed to be built, teachers that slept in the closets at the schools. There was a serious tugging on my heart to do something about this...but what? The need was so great; a whole lot larger than our church could handle, so, The Buy a Brick Foundation was born,  a Non-Profit that raises funds and then goes and builds at the most needed villages in Zimbabwe. Fourteen years later, I would never have been able to comprehend that we would have built or rehabbed 14 school block buildings in seven villages, built a Clinic called The Leonah Clinic named after a young girl, Leonah Sibanda, who was attacked by a buffalo 2000 yards from the school. We have been building in the area's of  Victoria Falls and Hwange District.  Honestly, I thought Africa would be a cool place to take in a little adventure, a safari, take in the awesome sites, and in the process, do a few good deeds along the way. I had no idea that my life would change dramatically as a result of my first two weeks in Zimbabwe in 2004. The people of Zimbabwe touched my heart and have become a major part of my life ever since I first stepped on their soil.

I invite you to go to the site and see what amazing things the God is doing through the foundation.
I am one person trying to make a difference in our world.
The proceeds from the sale of this painting will go to buy a brick, to feed the children that may only get one meal a day at the school.

African Elephant, Acrylic on canvas 12 x 24
Day 51 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

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

Monday, August 13, 2018

Panel day

I did do a lot today, however it had nothing to do with a brush!
So no painting today, but still painting with a spray can. 
We painted the panels black to protect the wood.
11 panels took 14 cans of spray paint, making the cashier comment, "quite a project". 
I said yes mam and rushed out to finish the painting.
The other day, when I picked up 8 more blankets, the person helping me commented, "Are we expecting a severe winter?" I told her no mam, this is a cross over project, I love to use things unexpectedly!

I also spent the day reworking my straps to use on the panels. I thought I had them all figured out, but when I went to demonstrate them, I was disappointed that they did not work the right way.
I spent the morning ripping, then reworking all 2 of them. I am pleased to report they will do quite nicely once attached to the grids. These are the straps that will tie the panels to the tent walls.  I may also have to make skirts for the bottoms of the grids, but we shall see after set up! I then covered a shadowbox frame in canvas. I made the top pieces for the curtains I am taking to India for our daughter. Lastly, we had dinner then went to a friends house to scrub floors for their move in this weekend.

Sometimes in the grand scheme of things, you just have to have a work day. 
Last year, I cleaned and painted my fans we use primarily during the National Shrimp Festival in October. The heat index has hit 122 degrees one year.
I digress, 
My loving husband took a photo of the wire grids so you can see what they look like. Actually this is after we painted them. They were raw wood and he wanted to paint the whole grid instead of just the top and bottom. There are a total of 11 grids, 9 that are 36 inches wide by about 76 tall, and
2 that are 15 x 76.  There will be three per wall that will cause a gap at the corners. We then have the two 15 inch wide ones to fill in the area at an angle and will also cover the weights and poles quite nicely. I am very excited to see these narrow ones in use, as I can already see the possibilities! 
(The "professional" version is 38.5 inches wide to fill a ten foot wall with three panels, thus eliminating the need for the narrow panels.) Ours were made 36 inches wide to fit the dog fencing we are using for a grid to hang from. Our next problem was the covers, which I made from velour type blankets in a nice gray. I am extremely pleased with the results and can't wait to set up the booth and put them all in place. Then came the straps that I mentioned earlier.
We will be setting up the booth later this week to do a test run.
I can hardly wait!

This is one of the panels with art work on it.
I am so happy we are almost through this project to put it behind us!

Show panels~mixed media!
Day 43 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Sunday, August 12, 2018


A special request from a little boy who turned five today!
Our Grandson to be exact. His request when I asked him what painting he wanted for his birthday.
"I want a swordfish! With a big fin!" I countered, "Do you mean a sailfish?"
"Yes please"

So here we go, a sailfish.
I have had the opportunity to paint these gorgeous fish many times over the years. This one though, is special. Every year, on our grandsons birthday I paint something for him. I painted a crab the day he was born, each year since has been something different. He has a gecko, a lion, a pelican, a sea turtle, and now a sailfish. This is the biggest one yet for him. When he moves out of his parents home, he will have a collection all his own, all in sepia.
Until then, they hang in my studio.

Today also found Chris and myself sweating outside while painting the frames for the new booth set up. Mercy, they seemed never ending. We though they would take only a partial can of spray paint apiece, but turns out they each needed about a can and a half! They look great and we are both anticipating the set up in the booth for a new booth shot. Meanwhile, I am redesigning the straps to hold them in place. This entails ripping apart, stitching back together and adding a new strip of velcro. I want them to be easy to remove from the booth and since the buckles are difficult to find, I am hoping velcro will work at least temporarily.

Ah the artists life!
The never ending wild ride of creativity that God gives to us!

Sailfish, 18 x 24canvas, Acrylic
Day 42 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Wisdom of the sea

I absolutely love painting sea turtles, but this guy almost did not happen!
We've had a long day, helping friends from church paint their new home for a few hours, then going home to our own project. We are still working on the panels for shows, and boy are they going to be worth the time spent! Chris used a router on the edges of the frames, while I made the straps with recycled webbing and double sided velcro. We are painting them black so they will blend with the gray covers better. I may also have to make some skirting for the bottoms of the frames. Finally one of my pet peeves will be taken care of! (I cannot stand seeing things under the mesh sides showing.)
I can hardly wait to set them up, photograph the booth, and let you all see!
Most of all, here's hoping that I get into the show I am trying to enter in Florida.

Regardless, they will be an awesome addition to our show equipment, 
making the booth look more like a gallery setting.
I may even paint the grass carpet we bought in the spring on the reverse, so I'll have a "rug" on the floor of my booth. Wouldn't be the first time I've painted a floor!

Wisdom of the Sea, Acrylic on canvas 8 x8
Day 41 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Friday, August 10, 2018

Another Octopus

Boy this photo is really wonky!
Late night folks!
As requested, an octopus after a long day.

I am trying to get into a particular show in Florida in January. 
You never know how much a spouse supports you until those 
times when frustration hits you as an artist. 

This show almost requires me to have a professional panel system to display. 
I have been using my beautiful Flourish mesh for years now, and I LOVE it! 
I have recommended it several times, with other artists taking down the phone number to call the company. Needless to say, I am stubborn when it comes to change. I mean why change, it's always worked. These sides have been with me since the beginning and have stood the test of time, dirt, storms and transportation. 

Anyway, to the panels.
This show I want to get into is difficult at best to crack. Apparently my artwork passes muster, but the display is Meh. There are times in an artists life they must step back and see what others are seeing. The first complaint was that there was too much art, and I needed to display less. So, we set up the booth, and the sides (with a lot of Chris's help!), put less art into the tent and took the photo. The photo was okay, but my tent sides were wrinkled from being in storage. I submitted the photo to the show only to get another we need you to clean up your act. (basically) Well I also submitted it to a page on facebook for jury analysis. I received the same critique, the tent walls look sloppy because of wrinkles. The booth shot is not showing correctly, (photograph on a cloudy day? Who knew?) The last suggestion was to get professional panels. Again, the stubborn kicked in and then my wallet! Even used these panels are high and the only ones being sold are out west or way up North. 

Enter the mister. (Chris that is)
He seemed to think we didn't need them until I sat him down and explained the why. I then exclaimed about the price. "Why don't we build some?" This man is magical when it comes to wood. I am so lucky God put him into my life, as a partner, a spouse, fellow artist, and woodworker. We went to two different hardware stores to get wood and wire. We then went to our big box store to get a blanket(?!).
Chris would build, I would sew the covers from the blanket. He got started and came in the next morning telling me, it was a no go because the wood was splitting. "I have decided to buy you panels because this is too much to do" I wilted, this man of mine never gives up on anything, never lets it defeat him. I asked, what is the problem? He said the wood is splitting. I asked if he could pre-drill the holes. He shook his head and went to searching on the computer for panels. I left to teach a class that morning, resolute that he would find a solution. When I came home, he said come outside and see what I've come up with. I was delighted to see the wood frame with wire inside and no splitting!
"I figured it out." I gleefully went inside and stitched together a sleeve for the panel.
When we both saw the finished product and hung the artwork, we were both pleasantly surprised!
My work against the gray is gorgeous!
More on this saga later!

Another Octopus, 16 x 16 , acrylic on custom built shadowbox canvas
Day 40 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Great Blue

Great Blue
Heron that is!
Our herons are an ever present large bird on the Gulf Coast. 
They are also some of the biggest thieves and hunters, not to mention just plain fun to watch!
Great Blue herons are about 4.5 to 5.5 pounds and up to 4 1/2 feet!
I have seen them everywhere, on the beach, tidal pools, marshes, and ponds.
They are quite the parents, having 3 to 7 eggs. Both parents feed the babies and they are capable of flight at about 60 days. The fledglings leave the nest around day 65. Our Great Blues down here in the deep south can have up to 2 nesting seasons per year. 

I have photographed them in the Keys harassing fishermen. At the Gulf following a hook into the water or stealing the bait from the shore! I've gotten great shots of one eating a snake at Perdido key while vacationing. We even have some that hang around here in Fairhope at the pier. One in particular has taken to perching on the purple martin houses in the water, much to the consternation of the martins! Imagine a bird 4 1/2 times your size and so much heavier than you showing up on your roof. The martins go crazy flying around and harassing the giant bully. 
We also saw one in the duck pond area the other day, carefully walking and suddenly grabbing a tiny turtle from the water. 

We've also seen one here in the cooler months sunning himself in the afternoons. It had a strange way of holding it's wings, almost in a supplication of sorts to the sun warming his body. I hope to catch him in this pose later this year with a proper camera. We only had a cell phone and it just did not do the bird justice.

Another day, another photo, another bird!

Great Blue, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6
Day 39 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Osprey or Fish Eagle?
My husband calls them Fish Eagles frequently. 
I love to watch them while they are fishing. They have such grace and beauty coming in low just above the water talons outstretched. Barely touching the water, the hapless fish rapidly becomes breakfast or dinner. 
This beauty was photographed by me while out with Chris in the 
kayak up at 5 rivers off the causeway. The 5 rivers park is worth the visit. With static displays and changing exhibits, it is a feast for the senses. The boat launch is a little tricky, but well worth it. Once on the water, you quickly lose sight of the highway and the sounds of the water becomes a wonderful sound. We saw Blue Herons, Green herons, White egrets, Osprey and an alligator. 
I tried to get Chris to paddle toward the reptile, but he was a no go. 
It was the same with the Caribbean reef shark once while we were skin diving in the keys. 
He wasn't going to play the game of capture the photograph!
Oh well, we still managed to paddle toward this osprey right after he got his catch of the day. After taking it to the top of a piling, he rapidly dispatched with the head of the mullet. We got fairly close, but it then decided we wanted a piece of his dinner and he took off. 
That is when I got this beautiful photograph.

This is not our first encounter with an osprey. We went to Ship island one year with the Orr Museum and had a delightful time while on the island. Chris created pottery, and I worked in pastels on sanded pastel board. One afternoon we were walking on the Gulf side of the island and the wind was pretty hard out of the North. We watched as this beautiful osprey captured a huge fish out of the Gulf. It had difficulty picking it up and started to fly back. We stood amazed as this graceful bird was in the fight of his young life to get back to it's nest with babies on the island. Not only struggling with the wind, the seagulls noticed it having trouble flying and proceeded to harass the osprey. 
We thought the osprey was going to lose the battle, getting pushed back 
time and time again, the wind battering the exhausted bird. 
The beauty is the bird never lost it's hold on the prize.
Finally making it back to the nest, it's mate made way for him to land and feed their babies.
Chris and I both finally took a breath and cheered!
May we all be as tenacious as this bird when battered by the storms this world sends our way!
God willing, I'll always remember the strength and beauty of this magnificent animal. 
It reminded me of Isaiah 40:31
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not grow faint.

Osprey study, Acrylic on deep edge canvas, 8 x10 
Day 38 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

For the love of trees

"For the love of trees"

This watercolor is the simple sketch for a commissioned piece.
She loves the view from the front of her home that faces one lake and is backed by another. 
It will be on two custom canvases that are made to fit above the 
cabinetry in the kitchen for my clients home. 
One canvas measures 43.5 x 21 the other 55 x 21 making for a total length of 98.5 inches.
The design calls for the largest tree close to the mid way point to be the bridge between the two canvases. There is also a bit of lake on the right side not visible in the photo.She also wants it done in sepia color on the white background. 
I am so excited to begin work on this beautiful addition to her home!

"For the love of trees", watercolor 
Day 37 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Monday, August 6, 2018

Gulf menace

Maybe not a menace but a real destructive force in our Gulf of Mexico.

Pterois volitans
Pterois (tare-oh-eese) is defined as simply "lionfish".
The word Pterois comes from the Greek word, "pteroeis" meaning "feathered" or "winged."
Also from the Ancient Greek word "pteron" meaning "feather" or "wing" 
Volitans(vole-ee-tahnz) is Latin for "flying" or "hovering".
Thanks to 
 Virtual Lionfish Hunters Lodge™
for the interesting Greek and Latin!

I think I'll just stick with Lionfish, don't you?
Some other interesting things about them!
They can go up to 3 months without eating and only lose 10% of their body mass.
However, the scientists are seeing overweight lionfish that even have fatty livers!
They are literally eating themselves to death!
Eating lionfish is actually healthy, they are higher in the omega 3's we need for heart health.
Another bonus, they are lower in mercury and lead!

Gulf Menace, Acrylic on shadowbox canvas 16 x 16
Day 36 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Seahorse Fancy

Today finds me playing with Seahorse Fancy. 
This one is on a 16 x 16 shadowbox canvas that Chris built for this upcoming show season.
He changed the design for this group and I really like it! The original canvases had a 6 x 6 opening in the center with 5 inch borders all around. He did his own redesign and I approve wholeheartedly. The new openings are 8 x 8 with a 4 inch border, and are actually much easier to draw out and paint. 
The openings on the original canvases look so tiny to me now.
Great call Honey!

Meanwhile, back to artwalk on Friday. I managed to sell one octopus and someone from church wanted the Mahi Mahi in the gallery photo. I delivered it today to him and he loved it even more in person! I am so happy to know that Mahi will give him a great feeling when he looks at it in his office. I love it when a man makes a decision on his own and purchases!
The other thing is, people are constantly asking me, do you paint the canvas and then stretch it over the frame? No folks, these pieces are completed in place after all the stretching and white paint have been added. I literally do a drawing inside the opening, and out on the front, connecting the two together on the sides of the box. I then make sure the painting wraps around the edges as well. The canvas ends up in my lap, sideways, upside down, and sometime laying flat on my work table. It is a simple process for me, although my girlfriend that is also a painter thinks I'm nuts!
The paint that I use is a custom mixed color that I start the summer fresh with a new batch before starting the 100 days. This years batch is more "blue" at the request of my collectors. The paint is applied in as many as 6 layers for the darkest areas. I use a lot of layering, scrumbling, glazing, and occasionally yelling. (well not yelling per-se), but fussing when the paint 
lifts faster than I can keep it on. Sometimes the graphite from the pencil lines will mix with the paint giving it a more brown appearance. All in all, they look good with each other no matter what year you purchase them. 

Thanks for dropping by to the blog!
I really enjoy your comments.

Seahorse Fancy, Acrylic on 16 x 16 Shadowbox canvas
Day 35 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Pelican rookery

This is a photo I took several years ago on our first trip down to the keys.
She was in a small zoo area near the Manatees in Homosassa  Springs.
 I couldn't get over the beauty of this mama pelican sitting on a nest.
Her nest was carefully constructed of limbs intertwined in a mess, and yet here she was sitting on it! She apparently was a pelican that could not fly, hence the messed up feathers towards her rear.
What is so funny now is that I know they don't sit, they literally stand on their eggs. They use those huge webbed feet to cover the eggs with their warmth. 
I loved they way she blended into the browns of the sticks and branches. 

What I did not realize was that was going to be more difficult in sepia.
I literally spent almost as much time on the branches as I did the entire bird!
I really want to photograph them when they are nesting on the island. 
I could use the new reference photos.
Boat trip anyone?

Pelican Rookery, 12 x 24 shadowbox ,Acrylic
Day 34 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Seahorse duo II

I painted these guys as the Big Fish Trading company wants another 
for a pair of seahorses for sale. I took 11 new pieces to them on Wednesday of this week. 
It is always a great trip when we go. 
Amy and Jason approached me at the Shrimp Festival in 2016, telling me that my art would go great with their furniture. I didn't really blow them off, but it did take 7 months to get artworks to them! The moment I walked into their store, I was blown away by the beauty of their furniture. 
It is all hand built, with a beautiful coastal flair to their finishes.
They have sold several of my pieces and are always eager to have more!
They have actually sold one of Christopher's bowls as well.

This is a short snouted seahorse. 
They are typically found on rocks in water up to 250 ft deep!
They have a restricted range because of limited daily movement.
Most movement occurs when they attach themselves to debris during a storm.
Their habitat is from Scotland to the Netherlands and south to Senegal and the Mediterranean sea. They are also found near the coasts of the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands.

Typically measuring about 6 inches, the male are the ones that birth the babies. The babies are born after 21 days and can range in number from 50 to 100 depending on the age of the male.

They are very faithful to their mates as well.
The greeting ritual takes place daily and can last up to 8 minutes. 
Makes me want to spend more time with Chris!

Seahorse Duo II, Acrylic on shadowbox canvas
Day 33 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Pelican in flight

The brown pelican has made a huge comeback since being driven to 
endangered status in the 1960's and 70's.
The pelican has a peculiar habit  when incubating it's eggs.
It uses the warmth of it's feet to keep the eggs warm and in the 60's and 70's pesticides were a big problem to these magnificent birds. The eggs were too fragile to hold the weight of the parent and so in trying to incubate them, they crushed them.
Since the regulation of pesticides, specifically DDT has become better, the birds have made a nice comeback. Our Galliard island in the Mobile Bay is the perfect rookery, and in the spring, it is covered with the birds nesting. 

I found out recently that they don't dive to catch fish, they dive to stun them. They can dive from as high as 65 feet. They have air sacs they inflate to protect their internal organs. When they spot a potential prey they hover then dive turning to the left as they do so. This protects their airway and esophagus. The birds can also hold 3 gallons of water in their pouch under their beak, but their stomach can only hold about one gallon. They frequently have the stunned fish stolen from them as they are draining the water from their pouch by seagulls.

They also weigh about 7.5 pounds. 
Their wingspan can be up to 5 feet.
The oldest known Brown pelican was 43 years.

An impressive bird to say the least!

Pelican in flight, Acrylic on 24 x 24 shadowbox canvas
Day 32 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018