Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Is this the end?

Is this the end?
Well, yes and no.
What happens next depends on what the readers of the blog determine. This year's blog has been an absolute adventure, full of excitement and crazy wonderful happenings. 
I have had several firsts with this year's post as well.
I have sold 5 of the paintings so far, even before the show season is in full swing.
Our youngest child had her first child and our second grandchild.
The blog itself has grown an astounding 25,000 plus hits in the past few weeks, thanks to the shares by my faithful readers. (It took the first 9 years for it to go up over 30,000.)
I could not have done some of the things I have without loads of encouragement from you all!
I made a month log trip to a foreign country, and loved it a lot!
I created new things, revisited some others, and started over from scratch on some.
I made beautiful steampunk style art with children.
I measured canvas incorrectly, then had to make a new size painting from the remains.
I've seen a work of mine converted to tile, and it is gorgeous! (I can't wait to see it in place!)
I've seen the National Shrimp Festival cut to a three day run by a little storm called Michael.
I've seen God's hand placed firmly on my mine guiding me every hour.

In the meantime, we wait for Michael to pass, 
praying that all in the storms path are kept safe and sound.
Prayers lifted up for all indeed,
for safety, for health, for prosperity, but most of all for LOVE.

All this has been done with a lot of people following my (and our) adventures through the days.
The question remains, do I continue?
Not necessarily a painting a day, but definitely at least once a week post.
Maybe more often, who knows!
The goal next year is to increase "followers" and hits on the website with a 
possibility of it making money someday!?
Who knows what plans God has for me?
I know I'm enjoying him guiding me instead of me stubbornly manipulating him!

Is this the end? Acrylic on shadowbox canvas, 24 x 24
Day 100 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Monday, October 8, 2018

Jesters of the sea

Well now.
Today has been very interesting to say the least!
We have a hurricane named Michael in the Gulf of Mexico that is slogging it's way ashore. 
Bad news is, it is supposed to strengthen to a category 3. I cannot remember the winds speeds for that one, but I'm sure the damage will not be pretty. I know we have lots of trees around here that have not had a good wind to blow the dead wood out. The worst part of this storm will be the Northeast corner. This is projected somewhere in the big bend of Florida. I don't envy them. Storms surges, high waves, significant rainfall, and high winds for several hours will make for a lot of damage.
The storm is also projected to go over or near a show in Destin Florida that we have in 3 weeks.
I'm sure we'll hear from the committee running the show next week.

The chamber has already contacted us about the Festival this week. We were supposed to start setting up on Tuesday, but that has now been pushed to Wednesday check in, and Thursday set up and opening at 5pm. I don't know how many people will be out at 5pm to check us out. I am concerned about taking our trailer over to the campground on Wednesday as the winds are supposed to be in the 70 mph range. I am also concerned about our fellow artists, coming in from all over the country for this show. Lots of out of town people, needing to shelter in place before setting up. We will probably set up Early Thursday morning if allowed. The chamber had all the  plans in place for a staggered set up on Tuesday and Wednesday. 
Now that is all out the window and plans may change yet again tomorrow.
We throw the dice, but God determines where they land. Proverbs 16:33

Jesters of the Sea, Acrylic on shadowbox canvas, 12 x 24
Day 99 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018  

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Just beautiful

Ever heard the expressions, 
like a cat on a hot tin roof,
behaving like a worm on a hot brick,
ants in your pants. 
Visualize if you will all of these combined and you will have my state of mind this week.
These were all sayings when I was growing up. My parents had only me as their only child for 9 years before my brothers came along. (Mom had a boy when I was 4, but I don't remember him, he only lived 8 days.) Anyway, my parents often referred to me as one of these when I was little. I was raised in the childhood where children were pretty much seen and not heard. I could not sit still, or keep my mouth shut! (Today they call it hyperactivity~I just call it being children!)

My energy is up and so is my anxiety about the show and the possible hurricane 
headed for the Gulf coast. My mind looks at the forecast, but there's that little voice that says what if, what if it comes here,
what if it hits gulf shores,
what if they cancel the National Shrimp Festival?
Then I take a deep breath and tell God okay, I can't handle this right now, I'm giving it up to you, your shoulders are big enough to handle all I can throw your way. 
If you could just move it further to the east, if you could make it come in faster!
And I do just that. I give it all to God.
He's taken care of me before, he'll take care of me now and forever.

Then when I leave church, I find the storm has indeed been 
moved into Florida and may come sooner rather than later.

Thanks God, I needed that!
But then there's that little voice that says, what if..........

Enough already!
You get the gist of things around here.
And yes, I do have ants in my pants.
And a hamster (my brain) that won't get off the wheel in the cage at night! 
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.... 

Just Beautiful, Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 shadowbox canvas
Day 98 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018 

Saturday, October 6, 2018


Today has been interesting to say the least. 
I discovered one of the canvases sent to North Carolina is not the one requested. However, the new owner said let's see when they get here. Otherwise, it may be to send the correct one, get the other one returned situation. That's exactly what happens when we get distracted, mistakes are made. I prefer to think of them as happy accidents. This guy was fun to paint and a good distraction from the possible tropical storm/ hurricane headed our way! 
Now THAT is not making me happy at all! 
So close to National Shrimp Festival in Gulf shores next week too. 
I can only imagine the anxiety level at the chamber office right now. 
Praying this storm moves far, far, far away......

My studio also seems to have an invasion of fruit flies.
Can't figure out where these guys are coming from! 
You reckon it could be the banana peel from last week in the studio garbage can?
Sigh, something else to take care of in the morning before church. I must get rid of them, they fly in my face and up my nose, then land on my palette. That's when I catch them with a wet brush!
I once left an empty smoothie cup up in my studio, then left for two weeks.
That was a real invasion!
Never again will that happen.

Canvases are still drying too up here in the studio as well. Sunday brings a sewing and hat day working with my oldest daughter creating. It is a real advantage having such a wonderful space, the computer, sewing machine, cutting table and so much more up in my own personal 500 square feet. I especially am grateful for the half bath that is up here with a mop sink. 
I still have a few wires and varnishing to do as well before the big show this week!
My to do list is getting longer............

I must also confess I am a list maker. When I can't sleep, I make lists, what to wear, what to bring, artworks to carry then check off as they are put on our 'maps' and packed.
It helps me sleep sometimes. 
I am reaching that sleepy point for tonight so I guess I'll bid adieu for now.

Escaping, Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 24 shadowbox
Day 97 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Elephants and fish?

WHAT a crazy week this has been!
Mind you I'm not complaining, just still shaking my head over the things 
that have occurred this week!
God has shown up in a big way multiple times!

First, last weekend was a huge surprise to my bank account because 
I did so well at the Jubilee festival.
Second, I shipped a painting that was ordered while I was in India to Georgia for a birthday gift!
Shout out to Develyn!
Thirdly, I went to church on Wednesday, and wrote my check for my tithe and donation to Buy a Brick foundation. I had not even put the check in the box before I received back a quarter of what I was donating from a painting sale. 
Fourth, Painting arrived in Georgia, I got sweet message from the her cousin 
inquiring about two other crab paintings. I shipped them today to North Carolina.
Hey London!
This sweet lady is also considering a third painting.
Fifth, As you can see from the above photo and the two Fish paintings, I am finally able to reveal that my artwork has been chosen for the backsplash at the main restaurant at Gulf state park convention center and hotel in Gulf Shores, Al. (Two years in the making!)
I have retained the print rights and people are already inquiring about prints!

Gulf Fish I
Gulf Fish II

Finally you see this big guy here!
Are you seeing double? 
I painted the elephant again with the trunk and body reversed because I wanted it to go with the giraffe and zebra. However, this one may be sold as well!
As I said, NOT complaining!
I guess what I AM saying is you can't outgive God!
I am infinitely blessed, beyond all measure!

Elephant reversed, acrylic on canvas, 12 x 24
Day 96 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

A mother's love knows no bounds

I know right?
A little different from my usual fair. 
Another in a series to depict the animals that are in Zimbabwe . I wanted to have at least three canvases depicting these beautiful animals that call Africa home. 
However as of yesterday, my elephant painting sold, much to my delight. (Another one is in the works!) If you remember that painting was done to benefit the Buy a Brick foundation. One hundred dollars can feed anywhere from 100 to 150 children a meal a day for an astounding month! God placed it on my heart late last year to donate $100 a month for a year. I thought sure God, I can find 9 other people to donate $10 each and we can do it together. However that was my plan and not his!

God has seen fit to bless me enough to be able to contribute the $100 
each and every month so far this year!
I have not missed the money at all, in fact it gives me great 
joy to give it to this wonderful organization. 
Even more amazing to me, each time I give, I am blessed even more.
This is making me a miracle delivery agent. An MDA if you will.

This year has also caused a great deal of reflection on my part. 
My dream is to go to Africa next year and teach art to the children and leave art supplies that the school can use for the benefit of the children to create! 
At least, that is MY plan, I can't wait to see what God's plan looks like!

 I am listening, he is speaking, and I am giving and creating more than I ever dreamed was possible.
Speak Lord, your servant is listening.

A mother's love knows no bounds, acrylic on canvas, 12 x 24
Day 95 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Blue crab tango

Blue crab tango is basically from a mistake my husband made in the shop. He made the mistake while cutting pieces for the stretcher bars that would take care of the India pieces. As he cut, he would dutifully check off the size of the stretchers on his list. He happily brought the frames up to my studio, and I gratefully accepted them. Problem was, he was missing an 8 x 16. He went back out to the shop, cut and made an 8x16 and brought it to the studio. I stretched all he had brought, and had extra 12x12s. The 8x8s that I had painted had two that were too small to stretch so he made me two 6x8s that afternoon as well. I love having a woodworker husband!

The mistake, he sheepishly brought up the 8x16 the following day to the studio. 
He found it under a pile of sawdust on the saw.
Any one who knows woodworking knows it take a lot of dust to cover pieces of wood!
I seem to be married to a woodchuck!

Anyway, I created another set of crabs to complete the series!
Blue crab tango, acrylic on canvas, 8x16
Day 94 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Turtle Time!

For those that have read the blog for a while, you know I am not above revisiting a painting that has not sold. The long turtles painting in the first photo have been with us since spring of this year. It was part of a series of 5 elongated paintings, 4 of which have sold. One didn't even make it to a show, and 3 found a home in Melbourne Florida. This one was left.

I once worked with a man that said no one will buy the last one of anything. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with the painting.  While looking at it this past weekend, I had an idea to add the outer two panels to extend and complete the piece. I think it worked out beautifully. The piece now measures an impressive 48 inches wide by 40 inches tall. It will be a show stopper in my booth for sure! 

Today was my birthday as well. Lots of messages and texts all day while in the studio. I worked at getting pieces done, rather happily mind you! I spent the entire afternoon yesterday stretching the India pieces, only to find two of the 8x8 crabs are sadly lacking in the correct canvas size. Chris to the rescue with 6 x 8 stretcher bars that will make a nice addition to the show season. He also found the 8x16 he was missing yesterday, buried under a pile of sawdust! If there is one thing he can make, it's big piles of wood chips and lots of dust! Anyway, he put it together and brought it to me, sheepishly explaining that it was buried under a pile of wood shavings. Now, instead of 5 8x8s and one 8x16, there will be 5 8x8s , 2 8x 16s, and 2 6x8s. They will make a nice little grouping of crabs. This will give me a total of 19 canvases stretched that now will need to be wired and varnished as well.

Anyway you look at it, show season is ramping up into high gear!

Turtle time!, acrylic on canvas, 48 w x 40 t
Day 93 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Monday, October 1, 2018

Blue heron with Tude V

What a weekend!
It started out calmly enough, with set up for the Jubilee show on Friday. Saturday dawned bright and early for us as we took artworks to the booth along with my "maps" to help with the hanging. The map system has worked beautifully for us. I get the majority of my kinks out of my system so we are not on each others nerves while trying to hang multiple paintings. It enables me to visualize a show tent before we actually start to hang. I can move paintings around on paper, reworking them multiple times before making final decisions on what to hang where. It used to be me trying to figure it all out while Chris was eagerly asking what next. It gave me a headache, made us both irritable, and just generally started the show off wrong. The map system has eliminated all this by having a good idea of where the pieces hang before we get to the show venue. 
Unfortunately, sometimes I am a little too tight in my estimates and we have to adjust. 
Fortunately, I have a spouse that has learned my quirks and just do it the way I design. 
Chris made great fun about the maps at first, especially since I had taken two weeks to design the first one. I also promptly left it sitting on the dining room table 70 miles away!
Fortunately, I had played with it so much it was in my head.
He now makes sure the maps are with us when we go to shows.
I cut them out, put them on the proper walls.
It is so much easier for us both to unpack, lay out, and hang the shows using them!

Today was busy as well. We picked up a check from Big Fish Furniture in Foley for art they have sold. We also picked up a few pieces that have been at the store for a while. I feel so fortunate to have representation there. Chris also built my stretcher frames for the canvases painted while in India. It is definitely the way to go, flat canvases there, stretched canvases here in the USA. They are beautiful when stretched and I cannot wait to display them at shows! SO grateful for a spouse that can do woodworking!

We are still learning this show thing together. The big trick will be when we have to carry a show for him as well for his wood turning! We did use our new panel system this past weekend and it worked beautifully with a few hiccups. New velcro and I think all will be well at the Raccoon Retreat Studio!

Blue Heron with Tude V, Acrylic on canvas, 15x15
Day 92 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018