Monday, December 31, 2018

My slippery friend IV

We had a fun day today. We had breakfast and started our laundry after a bit of a wait as there are only two machines to use. While the laundry was washing, we took apart the equipment in the back of the truck, unloading it, determining what we needed to use and what we could put aside. The show we have next weekend is a lot like Peter Anderson with set up at 4 am Saturday morning. There is also the additional problem of parking for the artists being 2 1/2 miles away.
We had a lot of discussion about which tent to use after checking the weather. (There is a chance of rain.) After careful consideration, we decided to use the pop up tent as it may save our marriage in the long run. Needless to say at 4 am I want everything to be as easy as possible. We  will be using the new covered sides as well. They worked beautifully last weekend and I'm sure they will be perfect again. This time we have the added fun of a quad system. (4 tents together) These quads have one foot of space behind the tent, and it has to be shared with our neighbor. We kept out enough poles to make a 2 ft storage inside the tent. Both of our carts, storage bags, extra poles and my tall chair all have to fit in this back area. It should be interesting to say the least. It took quite a while, but we got the truck repacked and everything in place.

After we finished the truck,  we decided to go find bolts for a chair we have that broke the first night we arrived. While on that run, we went to Michaels as well because I did not bring enough canvases to paint on while we are on this trip. Lunch found us at Wendy's for a quick bite. 
We then did something we both love to do, find a Goodwill and poke around. While checking out at the first store we were told about another one nearby. We went to that one as well, picking up a couple of items needed and wanted. I actually found an almost new Johnny jump up for our grandson in India as well as a couple of bibs. 

Back at the wagon, Chris repaired the chair while I  painted.
We also gave a 'tour' of the wagon for a couple from New York. They were absolutely fascinated with all the little touches we have in the Gypsy Gal. We decided on leftovers for dinner, and then went to see a movie. The movie we went to see was Mary Poppins Returns and was worth every penny it cost! It was visually stunning, and had it's own wonderful story line and beautiful music as well.
All in all, a wonderful evening and lovely way to spend New years eve!
Happy New Year to all!

My slippery Friend, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x6
Day 25 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Sunday, December 30, 2018

My slippery friend III

Today was interesting to say the least!
We started with a good breakfast of eggs, sausage,and toast. We cleaned up afterward, washing the dishes and putting it all away. Food seems to taste better when camping,  especially hot coffee first thing in the morning. We made our lunches and off we went. Once at the show site we had to park the truck impossibly far away. A long walk first thing in the morning is pleasant though and we got to the show easily.

Once at the tent we removed sides and laid them out to dry on top of our carts. The day passed slowly, lots of people and no sales to be had. Finally in the afternoon,  a gentleman came in and purchased a shadowbox turtle. He was shocked to find out he was my first sale of the day. We had one other sale, two small shell paintings rounded out the day. I think we may have squeaked out our expenses for this part of the trip.

Subway for dinner. Hot tub at the resort.  Frustration with the Internet on both my phone and computer. Hence I am blogging from my phone.
Tomorrow is another day!
Goodnight to all!

My slippery friend III, acrylic on canvas
Day 23 of the 100 days-100 paintings Spring 2019

Saturday, December 29, 2018

My slippery friend II

Oh what a day! 
Our day started very early because we had not even begun hanging artwork in the tent the day before. We left at 6:30 am and it was not even daylight yet. Compounding the darkness was a heavy fog this morning in the form of a misting rain. This made for a very damp tent, and windshield wipers working overtime on the truck. After we arrived and unloaded artwork, I realized we had forgotten our lunch that we so carefully packed. I started hanging artwork and Chris headed back to the wagon to pick up our lunch. Lunches at the shows are typically not healthy and expensive.  By the time he got back I had managed to hang the 3 most difficult large pieces. After some thinking, we decided to put one of the big pieces on the back wall that formed our 'back door'. Another hour and we got the entire tent hung with artwork.

We then begin the waiting game. 
Waiting for people to show.
Waiting  for buyers to appear.
Waiting for the first sale of the day.
Turns out our wait was longer than most. 
I watched the photographer across the way have one sale, then another, and even more.
I began to pray, to not be jealous of the neighbors all around having sales.
I began to pray to make expenses.
I continued to pray for God to send a benefactor for me.
I'm not greedy, I am truly happy to make expenses at these shows. I know that I have been to shows where other artists have not made expenses. 
I painted octopus while chatting with customers. 
The afternoon passed slowly, painfully slowly. 
I made every effort to be pleasant, keeping a smile on my face and greeting everyone that came in to the booth. At 4 o'clock I went in the back, packing up the  bags and doing general cleaning. 
At 4:45 the couple showed up with intentions of purchasing one piece. 
They ended up buying 3!
Thank you Lord! 
Not a complete bust for today!

My slippery friend II, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6
Day 23 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Friday, December 28, 2018

My slippery friend

We celebrated our anniversary quietly enough to be satisfying for both of 
us. We are a simple couple, with simple needs the majority of the time. However, this morning was not simple, by the time we got out of bed, (8 am is very late for us!) We decided we would have coffee and make breakfast before going to set up for the show. Our plans were put awry however by the maintenance man showing up to replace our plug as it was really fried at the pole. With one click of the switch we had no power! No coffee either! Chris decided we needed wafflehouse for breakfast and he soon found one with his phone and maps. The map said it was 5 miles away, but it ended up being more like 10! Weird directions indeed. We almost made a big square, finding the place finally. The restaurant was busy and within a few minutes of our arrival, was absolutely slammed. We ordered and when breakfast arrived, it was something totally different from our order. We took it anyway and the waitress adjusted our ticket to be in line with the meal we ordered instead. Best of all, there was coffee, and plenty of it!

We then went on to the task at hand, set up for the show. I know the weather there in Fairhope is miserably wet and still cool, but here it is really warm! The same storm system bringing rain to the Gulf Coast is bringing us high humidity and unseasonably warm temperatures. It is in the low 80's and partly cloudy folks! It is easy to see why people move to south Florida from the snowy north! However,
Setting up in the heat and humidity after being cold for several weeks is a shock to our systems. The tent went together easily enough, although the winds of 25mph were not helpful at all! The new covered sides are beautiful, although there is a small problem I think I have solved when we get there tomorrow. Chris is patient with me, but the heat, wind, and my artist esthetics were getting in the way of our wedded bliss. So, after we set up the tent, got the weights on, and the sides up, I decided to call it a day. 
This was mostly in defense of our marriage. 
We both get cranky when everything does not go as planned or there is heat involved.
Add a nervous artist setting up for a new show and you have a recipe for a possible disaster!
Leaving without putting up artwork was the best decision for today.

We had lunch on the way back and Chris turned in for air conditioning and a nap. I sat outside and sketched canvases for the next few paintings. Chris got up and got the problem with my computer and the internet solved. We then went for a bike ride around the resort. Then something really neat, a dip in the swimming pool and a stint in the hot tub!

After showers and cooling down, we went to Walmart and bought some essentials for tomorrow and dinner. Roasted chicken and cold crisp vegetables made a wonderful meal.
A beautiful sunset for our day ended our anniversary on a lovely note.

Tomorrow is another day, and showtime!

My slippery friend, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6
Day 22 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Sand dollar

Today started out calmly enough. We got on the road somewhat early in the morning taking our time. Once on the road, we decided to find breakfast and ended up at a little restaurant called Country Skillet not too far from the campground. It looks like an old Waffle House, with newish decorations. The waitress was great, the food was good too!

We then refueled the truck with a lot of gas! Cheaper than a hotel hauling a camper, but we went through over $ 100 in gas. Ouch! I keep reminding myself cheaper than $100+ a night hotel! Our campground is about $275 for 5 nights. All told before we even open our tent, the show will be well over $1200. It's not cheap to do art shows folks!

On the way down here, we stopped in Clearwater Florida to go to the showoff canopy showroom. I was looking to replace two of my roof rack at Corners as they have gotten bent and been repaired numerous times. Because my tent is over 28 years old, they had to custom make the brackets for the two corners. When Chris saw this he asked if we could get two more. Turns out this is my anniversary present from him. They are much heavier cast aluminum and have holes that it will allow him to put the ratchet straps in the brackets. It will be interesting to set up the tent the first time with the new brackets tomorrow on our anniversary!

Tomorrow marks 40 years that we have been together! I can't imagine spending my life with any other person than this Man of Mine! Any other man might not be willing to set up for an art show on his anniversary either!

Time to wind down for today, the night has fallen,  dinner is done and cleaned up, and we are tired. Tomorrow is a big day!

Sand dollar, acrylic on canvas, 6x6
Day 21 of the 100 days-100 paintings Spring 2019

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Oyster or pearls

Through the miracle of the internet, I am now blogging from Casey Jones RV park tonight. I brought my laptop  with me so that I did not have to remember or change passwords for access to the various things I access. While in India I had an exercise in frustration because I had to change passwords on several sites because like most of us, I don't remember hardly any of them!
 Anyone else in my boat, Anyone?

This is another of the shells from Florida. Of course it is an oyster which I believe if I remember correctly, the state shell for Mississippi. There are mountains of shells built from the leftovers of the previous generations that lived in the area. 
We are all connected in a way, food, history, commonality of preferences or practices.
We left Fairhope at about 1030 am this morning, which is about an hour and a half earlier than I expected. I am glad we left then, because we just arrived here at the campground a full 81/2 hours later. We travel more slowly, because we are basically towing a brick. The camper is heavy and it's shape being higher than the truck makes it a wind sail. We are going through lots of gas as well, getting to our destination across the pan handle of Florida. The pan handle is very hilly and the truck does not care to go very fast. 

Tommorow we have plans to go to Show Off canopy company and their showroom to see if the roof brackets will fit our frame. My tent is the second one made by the company, the first one was for the owners wife, the second one for Betsy. I bought the tent as a second tent, in case of disaster on the road. Having a second tent is a must if you are on the road, we've seen it be needed by others, but fortunately not by us!

It's a good thing that we are not in a big hurry! 

Oyster or pearls, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6
Day 20 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Fighting conch

Tonight's post is a Fighting Conch.
So called because they apparently fight for their lives! They are actually algae eaters! They are eaten themselves by quite a few other creatures, including crabs, larger conchs, spotted rays, and the occasional octopus. 

Like most everyone else, we are celebrating Christmas. We spent the day with two of our children, and their spouses. We started with our breakfast of Waffle house, leaving tips for the entire restaurant. I guess we've brought up children that appreciate wait staff, as they left tips that were nice Christmas presents. I am proud of what they have become as adults and what they do for others. We also cooked a rather large meal that none of us could really eat because there was so much. We have brought food home, hoping the dog sitters will enjoy lovely amounts of leftovers. Too many sweets, too much food, lots of wonderful company! Plans next year for a cooking day involving gingerbread houses, cookies and probably a meal too! We do enjoy working together in the kitchen! 

I can finally show off the kai honu for a new collector! This beauty was photographed in Hawaii while on vacation. The husband contacted me and asked me to paint it for his wife as a surprise Christmas present. I think we actually pulled it off! So exciting to know his anticipation at her opening her thoughtful gift! I hope they enjoy her for many years to come!
Kai Honu, Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40

We also came home this evening and put all the show equipment in the back of the truck. The new truck cover has a brand new lock and we will both feel better about the tents being protected. First we pulled out everything, then we carefully put both tents, sides, weights, table, decorations, show box, show sales desk, chairs, and both carts in case we have to load in the hard way!
Once we got everything in, we moved the truck out and I went on the deck to get our large market umbrella, as we use it at our kitchen when we're in the Gypsy Gal. I brought it out the gate, leaned it against the wagon and helped Chris for a moment. I then went back to the umbrella to put it in the wagon. 

That's when I got stung.....
Dusk was falling and I could not see what got me, but boy did it hurt, burn, and sear!
I brushed away what I thought it was, but did not know for sure. I was just hoping it was not a spider!
I went inside, got one of my wrist braces and put an ice pack in it to stop the pain after I washed it in cold, cold water. Time to push on, I helped Chris to back up the truck and when he had a problem with the hitch, I turned my attention back to the umbrella. I kicked it and that's when the wasp crawled out and onto the umbrella. Needless to say, it did not survive long after that! Then I became concerned that there might be more, so I opened each fold on the outside, finding several stink bugs and lady bugs. No more wasps, thankfully. Carefully checking the inside of the umbrella, I removed more lady bugs then tied it up and put it into the back of the truck.

Good thing I'm not allergic to wasps...........
Made two more covers for the panels we are carrying to Florida. I love the new covers!
Laundry, packing, and decisions about show clothes!
Tired, satisfied, and almost ready to start our next adventure!
Another day in the life of this artist in Fairhope , Alabama

Fighting Conch, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6
Day 19 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Monday, December 24, 2018

Chestnut Turban

Short post tonight folks, I'm tired and it is Christmas in the morning.
Today's shell is another of the shells found along the Florida coastline. It is amazing to me the variety and beauty of these creatures. The endless array of sizes, shapes, and colors is amazing to me!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Chestnut Turban, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6
Day 18 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Common Nutmeg

The Common Nutmeg is another of the gastropod family. They are found from North Carolina all the way to Texas . They are also found in Brazil!
They're a relatively small shell, generally only reaching 1 to 2 inches. 
Some have been found to be 2 1/2 inches though.
They are also carnivorous as well.
Anyone else notice a pattern here? 
It seems the majority of these shells seem to eat one another! 
I had no idea!

Today was a beautiful day. Somewhat warm and  I was able to set up my tent frame and try out the panel covers that were only made this past week. I was amazed at how beautiful they are! 
They are a bit heavier to put up by myself though.
My husband was impressed too! He is already talking about getting rid of the panels we worked on so hard this summer. I'm not ready yet to shed ourselves of them, although I admit they take up a lot of room. Using the mesh sides allows us to bring an extra tent in case of a small disaster happening.
We will be looking for a set of pro panels to purchase for shows. I do like the look of the dark grey and the white canvases. I still have to put something in the corners to prevent seeing the poles, but they are a nice addition to the show equipment. The only thing was the fold line in the middle of the panels from the fabric. Time to break out the steamer!

The steaming went very well, and after a couples of hours, we were able to pack up the sides for travel to the show later this week. I am grateful for my son purchasing this Shark steamer from Goodwill, originally purchased to steam the ice away from my ice maker when it went haywire. Funny how things work out, something bought for a totally different purpose, is now useful in another. It's like God's plan for us, we don't always see the big picture, but once everything falls into place it all makes sense!

I was also fortunate to have the collector come by today and purchase the 4 piece crab for his parents. Apparently, it was 3 siblings getting her for a wonderful Christmas surprise! 
Tomorrow finds the commission going home, or at least the truck. 
The husband is coming by to pick it up in the morning. 
I cannot wait to show this beautiful memory of their vacation!
As I said, things falling into perfect place.~All a part of God's wonderful plan for me!
I can't wait to see what he has in store for me next!

Common Nutmeg, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6
Day 17 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Atlantic Natica

The "foot" on this animal is huge! It spreads out much larger than the outer edges of the shell. It moves along with the help of mucus. 
Kind of like a snail, isn't it?
Another Moon shell, it can be found off the coasts of Florida.

I am closing in on the trip to Florida and Christmas at the same time. While the trip projects are going extremely well, the package wrapping has not even hardly begun! I am planning to help with the meal on Christmas and still have to purchase items for those projects. Our grand left early this morning and we went to our local box store to return a bunch of velcro that I did not use in the covering  project for the tent. I am hoping to set up the tent and photograph the new panel covers and make sure they are snug, but not too snug. Also, to see if they are not wrinkled. 
(Fingers crossed on that one!) I have also completed a commission piece that is a Christmas present, so I cannot show it until after it is gifted to the person. I was blessed this morning by a piece finding a forever home with a very cute couple that purchased  a piece a few years ago. (purchased as a gift for them, the sister is so excited to find the perfect present!) In the meantime, we are packing and watching weather reports for Estero and Naples.  Mid 80's during the day, we're going to roast!
I will love to be warm for a change, here lately I'm freezing all the time!
We are both excited about the trip and are like eager children looking forward to a special treat. 

Tomorrow I will also varnish a lot of pieces and add wires for hanging in the tent. 
There is a lot going on here and behind the scenes. The next time you see or purchase from your favorite artist, graphic designer, sculptor, potter, or musician, tell them you appreciate their hard work in the process of creation. (While you're at it, tell your pastor you love and appreciate them too!)    As Artists we often work countless hours behind the scenes feeding the creative beast within us. While we vastly appreciate the purchases from collectors, receiving positive affirmations really helps as well. ( I have a friend that did not hear it often enough and through a combination of things, was contemplating suicide. Fortunately, they reached out and found their way out of the darkness! I for one am extremely grateful they are still here and are 
planning to get help from a counselor.)

Peace be with you all this beautiful night!

Atlantic Natica, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6
Day 16 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Friday, December 21, 2018

Pelican shake down

These incredible birds are really gawky yet graceful.
I love it when the bay has a school of fish and the pelicans have discovered it and started their fantastic dive bombing. It is indeed a sight watching them come up out of the water, and immediately turn and splash back down into the bay. 
It's a wonder they don't break their necks with the acrobatics they perform. 

It is even more amazing they don't drown because their beaks hold 3 gallons of water! That's 24 pounds of water that has to be squeezed out before they can eat the fish they dove after. They also turn to the left which keeps the water from rushing into their lungs. This dive is also precipitated by a deep breath of air which fills the air sacs in their bodies, which makes them pop back up after diving.
This guy is on a rather long narrow canvas and makes a wonderful painting in the shadowbox.

Today was another crazy busy day. We have our grand visiting and Chris had to watch him for several hours today. This was because I took new pieces to the gallery and changed out my space. After that, I went with my friend Linda to teach a class in Mobile that was rained out a couple of weeks ago. The class did not start until 1, but we did not get home until 4pm because of clean up and driving time. I also got a message on my phone from someone wanting a piece that was at the gallery. When I called he told me that he had purchased another painting from Big Fish Gallery for his wife, but wanted the other piece for his parents. Merry Christmas! 
Yoyo got no less than 6 hours of grand time alone! 
Fortunately, he's not a lot of trouble and they both survived the ordeal. When I got home though, they had cooked up a movie date this evening to see the new spiderman movie. 
The movie was interesting to say the least! 
I also sent a photo to a client, asking him about the commission piece I am working on for his wife's Christmas present. Problem given, problem solved. I think everyone will have a nice Christmas!
All in all, a very good day!

Pelican shake down, Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 36 shadowbox
Day 15 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Two turtle tango

Two Turtle Tango came about because a lot of research. 
I research a lot when I am painting, learning about the beauty, fragility, 
and sometimes tragedy of the creatures I so love to paint.
I was looking up Turtle eyes for a commission I was working on for Christmas.  
I came across a couple of turtle photographs that 
were a lovely set up for the painting you see here.
I will use photos from online frequently, some are from friends, but none are an exact copy. A flipper from one, A head from another, coloring from yet another. Thousands of references for hundreds of paintings. I love the way they interact with each other!

Today found us kinda trapped inside because of rain with an excited, almost Christmas, happy to be at Yaya's and Yoyo's house, 5 year old fresh out of school for the break. We took him to the store because mom said he needed new uniform pants to wear in school. I am in agreement, as all his pants seem to be about 2 inches too short! The entire time in the store, he played the typical 5 year old, wanting everything in sight. He even tried to ask us to use his quarter he found to purchase something, trouble is what he wanted needed 199 more quarters! Nope, not happening here. He understood and we headed back to the house after purchasing the pants and looking around a while. Yoyo even took him to his favorite park here in Fairhope. When they came home, His pants and shoes were soaking wet, he cannot stay out of a puddle!
We love to have him here, but getting anything of note accomplished 
with a 5 year old in tow is a challenge to say the least.
So we play with him!
We did manage to make two gingerbread projects though. He is very happy with his gingerbread house and once the camper is dry, I'm sure he'll love that too. Problem is, with my stinker, sneaky, stealing dachshund, I have to store it in the pantry so she can't get it in her belly!
Exhausting and mentally taxing, yes.
Too much fun to have around, Certainly!

Two Turtle Tango, Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 shadowbox
Day 14 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

It's not easy being Green

It's not easy being Green.
Or Loggerhead,  Hawksbill,  or Leatherback.
All types of sea turtles found in or near our Gulf Coast.
Not easy because of so many things going wrong in our world today. 
We are slowly killing our planet with our over abundant, disposable, single use society.
Primarily of concern to me is plastics and the continued damage we are doing by using them on a daily basis. Don't get me wrong, I use them too.
I just try to think ahead about what their next use is going to be.
I do a lot of recycled art with children during summer art camps. I believe in showing them how to look at garbage in a different way, either artistically or by recycling. I am in some small way contributing to the reduction of my and others footprints 
we leave on this big blue marble we call home.  
One good example, we as humans use 500 million straws every day!
Not all of them make it to the landfill either, some of them wind up in our waterways, thereby making it eventually to our oceans. Once in the ocean, they break down into smaller and smaller particles, until they become food for microorganisms. Trouble is, even at that small of a scale it is a problem because it is entering our food chain. The fish eat plankton which consumes plastic eventually making it up to us at the top.
Every species of Sea Turtle has been found to have plastic in it's digestive system.
8 million tons of plastic go into our oceans every year.
This is like a garbage truck of plastic being dumped into the water every minute.
Plastics are set to increase tenfold by 2020. 
By the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish!
What's a human to do?
Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, and Reimagine.
Reduce the amount you use~reusable grocery bags are easy!
Recycle~ Sometimes it is a pain to do, but once you get the mindset....
Reuse~I am consistently looking at something wondering how to reuse it!
Reimagine~ Children are really good at this, making sculptures out of trash...
I am continually blown away by children's imaginations, and I adore bringing their creations to life!
Refuse that plastic, styrofoam take out container, that straw....
Small steps.......

Today found Chris and I problem solving. Remember the panels we made this past summer?
We am very concerned about the amount of room they take up in the back of the truck. Show equipment takes up the entire bed of the truck when we travel. We put the artwork in the second seat, floorboard to almost ceiling. Some artwork will be riding in the Gypsy wagon, until we set up then it will go in the truck.  Anyway the panels lovely as they are, take up a lot of room. 

So, I've been thinking of a solution.
I still have my Flourish mesh sides and wanted to put a cover on them to give them the lovely gray color of the panels. I purchased cotton twin flat sheets, washing them before trying to sew them for my purpose. They turned into a wrinkled mess. I don't have time to iron them before every show, so they were probably going to have to be put aside. Anyway I purchased velcro to attach the sheets to the panels to the tune of $40....Sigh... Art shows are not cheap to be in by any means!
While riding home, I mentioned to my better half how much I missed Daphne Salvage because they would have had a polyester fabric that would wrinkle a lot less. He casually said what about that Pound fabrics. Off we went, to hwy 59 to find Fabrics by the pound. Fortunately, I talked with a guy that came out of the back and mentioned what I was looking for in a fabric that would stretch slightly. He said just a minute and went into the back. He brought out two samples, one more gray, the other blue. He said I think it is 60 inches and we sell it by the roll. When he brought it out, I was already in love with the color.
 I measured with my hands and it was not 60 inches but 72! 
SIX beautiful feet wide! (The mesh is 5 1/2 feet.)
I was concerned that the roll might not contain enough yardage though, so we measured it. I needed about 27 yards. The bolt contained 36!
I happily paid and fairly skipped out the door.
I grabbed my smallest panel and laid it on the floor in our living room. I cut, pinned and sewed until I had a large pocket that had openings for all the straps and velcro. It fit and I was pleased with the results. I requested Chris's help and we laid out and cut the 10 foot panels making pockets the same way. I have all 4 of my panels covered, the color is perfect, 
and I am happy. I may set up the frame this weekend and check it out. 
I know this will certainly be easier than the panels, we'll have more room in the truck, so now we can bring two tents as we planned. (there may be other "stuff" as well!)
A busy productive day indeed!

It's not easy being Green, Acrylic on Shadowbox canvas, 12 x 24
Day 13 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Grateful green

I am trying to get a few more shadowbox canvases ready for the shows in Florida. 
This one happens to be of a Green Sea Turtle.
These turtles are endangered and or threatened around the world. 
What this means, is they are in danger of being no more.
Green Sea Turtles were hunted almost to extinction.
 The meat and fat were apparently quite tasty, despite it's green color.
They were used to make canned turtle soup! 
The Florida Keys employed a lot of people around the early 1900's.
A combination of over killing, a hurricanes destroying the factory, and general public outcry finally made the industry die out. (Although not until the 1940's!)
Anyway, Green's are grateful because now they are protected, but now the environment and fishing nets are their biggest death threat.

Today found me loading the kitchen and other items back into the Wagon.
You see, we have a tiny house too, and at one time were trying to sell the Wagon. The tiny house was out first build on a trailer, but at about 4,500 pounds proved to be a bit much for our truck to pull long distances for shows. We now use it for temporary housing and guests love to stay in it when they come here. Chris and I also stay in it when family comes to visit so they can stay in the house. I am hoping to talk our youngest into staying in the house while we go into the tiny house when she comes to visit, hopefully later next year. Anyway I digress, We thought we had the Gypsy sold, and I emptied it of all the extras in preparation for the sale. (Chris and I love her, but she is a bit heavy and we're ready to build a lighter version.) The day came for pick up, and the couple backed out of the sale. They were buying it for their 19 year old daughter to live in on their property with intentions of her paying them back for the purchase. The daughter said you should just give it to me. I am pleased the parents said no! Time to grow up and have some responsibility about paying bills. A hard lesson for her indeed, as she did love the wagon and was very excited to get it as her "pad". 
Oh well, that means I got her back!
Today I spent a couple of hours refilling the kitchen and trailer with pots, pans, towels, and too many other things to mention. We have a coffee pot, crock pot, toaster, stove, dish washing buckets and drain, and  towels. No microwave, no room! I count myself lucky to have a full bathroom, queen bed, dining area, 6 foot kitchen, closet, bench storage, and small refrigerator in a 6 x 8 foot trailer!
The times we've had the opportunity to camp in it, people are shocked at 
how much we thoughtfully fit into such a small space. 
We LOVE traveling in it!
Each time we go, we tweak it a little more. It really is a comfortable space for just us two!
(Although our grandson could sleep on the floor under the bed if he really wanted to one night!)

That's all for today folks, Over 65,000 views on the blog now! 
Hoping to hit 70,000 before this adventure of 100 days is over!

Grateful Green, Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 16 shadowbox
Day 12 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Monday, December 17, 2018

Johnstone's Junonia

Just in case you don't know, this is Alabama's state shell. 
It officially received it's designation in 1990 as the official state shell.
It is named after Kethleen Yerger Johnstone, an amateur  conchologist from Mobile. 
It is a large sea snail from deep waters. You usually don't find these washed up on shore unless there is a big storm. It was also named after the Roman Goddess  Juno. 
It can reach a maximum length of  4.9 inches!
I can only imagine finding one!

Today found us both working hard to get things done around here. Christmas presents, farmhouse table, Extra Canvas cut for trip to India, Gypsy Gal's shower and name painting,  all got our attention today. I worked in the wagon, getting the shower situation fixed to my liking now. Our bath in the Gypsy Gal is about 2 x 6 feet and half of that is shower. (It also has a chemical toilet, faucets to wash our hands, and brush teeth at night.) I did not want a wet bath, so we modified a concrete mixing tub from Home Depot to make our shower pan. I put up 3 shower curtains to protect the wood sides of the trailer as the bath will not fit a standard shower surround, primarily because of the beautifully bowed roofline. Unfortunately this bow caused the curtains to lay really funny. (not in a good way) I have cup hooks holding the curtains in place and I was concerned about the excess plastic on the floor and us stepping on it. So, I removed it all, reconfigured the curtains and trimmed one down. I then put them together using double sided sticky tape and rehung them in place. I then trimmed the bottom edge after stapling the wonky creases down. I also altered the outer privacy curtain, adding length to it. All in all after cleaning the pan and non slip rug, I am very happy with my project. Chris even moved one of the hooks that our towels hang on. (we had an issue with the towel swinging out of the door when we tried to close it after showering.)

That project done, I moved on to the next task at hand. When we first built the trailer, it was a beautiful black with wood trim. Unfortunately, the VERY expensive paint I bought at Lowes was failing miserably within a few months. Chris decided to repaint the exterior wood surfaces a beautiful deep sky blue. Unfortunately, this meant the Gypsy Gal name that I had painted around the door window was covered up. 
I repainted the name today, along with an established year. It is gold with a black outline and looks really nice. I like the wagon having a name again!
I finished out my day's work on the wagon with vacuuming out the sawdust (man glitter!)
 and wood chips created by my woodchuck named Chris. He created quite the mess while rebuilding the closet refrigerator cabinet. We also collaborated on how to carry the bikes. We will open the bed up, put down moving blankets, and lay them on their sides to transport. (I love it when we think together!) We contemplated adding a hitch and carrier to the back of the wagon, but I have memories of an almost collapsed bike carrier during our first trip to the Florida Keys. It was beautifully welded back together by a gentleman at John Pennenkamp Park in the Keys. He would not take any money for helping us, and we were so grateful. 
Camping areas and camping people are usually like that, ready to lend a hand, help with a repair, share a story, or share a meal together. It's several of the reasons we love to camp!

Johnstone's Junonia, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x6
Day 11 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Olive shell

What a day!
So many things to do, so few totally accomplished.
Still a good day!

We started out by going to church and enjoying the production and service. So much hard work by several people made for an enjoyable morning hearing God's word.
I managed to get the curtain from the gypsy wagon taken apart last night so I could adjust it's length. Today I put it back together and Chris got the pole back in to hang it up in the closet. 
Chris altered the wagon slightly this week in the refrigerator cabinet area. The refrigerator used to be on the floor, making it difficult to get things out for cooking. That is, unless you are standing outside and reach into the  camper. (Yes she's small, but we LOVE her so!)
The fridge is now located on top of the closet, screwed in place and we now have a proper hanging area. The trip to Florida is almost two weeks, and two shows, so we bring a lot of clothes. (At least I do!) I am planning to bring along the outfits I made for the spring travel to Florida that are wonderfully comfortable shorts made from a 1940's pattern! High waist, button closure, only missing pockets! I get lots of compliments when wearing them and I don't have to worry about my caboose hanging out for all to see. 

I also worked hard to get the rest of the shadowbox canvases stretched.
The shadowbox canvases are  my most popular series to date, with the exception of the Sepia series started 10 years ago. The shadowboxes are custom made wood frames built by Chris, I then hand stretch canvas in 3 separate pieces to cover the frame, I then paint them white with acrylic paint to make the sepias show better and add a backer board to protect the frame where there is a single piece of canvas. They were a commercially available product from Michaels a few years ago, but we started building them ourselves after they stopped carrying them. They were brought back briefly for a few months afterward, but were discontinued again. 
I needed to get them done so I could use the remaining canvas for my flat pieces to take to India and paint while there. The afternoon flew by with the stretching, cooking our evening meal, then back to the studio to apply white paint to all 12 of them. 5 yards canvas, 1500 staples, and two sore hands later I have a total of 19 shadowbox canvases ready to be drawn and painted. 
(I stretched 7 16 x 16's earlier this week)

Christopher's project on the farmhouse table is really going well in the 'barn'.
He's in his studio, I'm in mine! I love it, and so does he!
We both get lots of fun things done while apart, so we can do other fun things together!

Meanwhile, I am toying with the idea of trying to fit two full sized bicycles into the Gypsy wagon so we can ride while in Florida! This will be a trick, since the bikes are longer than the floor is in the wagon. They may have to go in sideways, traveling inside Gypsy Gal with extra artworks for shows on top of our compressed bed! (And after we load in all our other clothing, camp kitchen equipment, bathroom stuff, and some food stuffs) Whew there is a LOT that goes into a trip of this magnitude. We are counting the days.......I am furiously, nervously painting! 

These are the things that wake me up at night.
That and painting ideas, packing lists, and  somewhere in there, Christmas!

Olive shell, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6 inches
Day 10 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Saturday, December 15, 2018


Today's piece is one of my favorites to paint! 
Today was also an eventful day at the Raccoon Retreat studio.
Our morning started with our usual morning coffee and my bible readings. I love to start my day this way and it has become a habit every morning, to sit and have some time with God's word. Sometimes I get revelations, other times I just enjoy the readings for that day. This way I have been through the bible almost 7 time from cover to cover. 
How do you read a book as large and wisdom filled as the Bible?
Same way you eat an elephant, one bite at a time!

Anyway, the morning started as usual. I then told Chris there was a sale at our local Goodwill of 50% off the entire store! There happened to be a set of furniture there I saw earlier in the week, and if it was still there it would be mine. Well, at least my grandson's. His furniture was almost totally destroyed in their move from Helena, Al earlier this year. He wants a loft bed again and we want to put a desk and dresser combination under it at the new house. Our son called as well and we went to breakfast before going to the store. Fortunately for us, it was still there. I will have to paint and clean it up, but they're a good base for the loft and play area underneath. There was only one problem, the shop behind our house is in a major state of flux right now! Chris's woodworking area is his domain, but the main portion of the shop is where the big stuff happens. I do large scale mural pieces out there, furniture rehabs and store all of my show equipment. Speaking of furniture rehabs, the shop has 2 bookcases the adult children bought for Sean's study in the new home, and an entertainment center I purchased earlier this week for Jessica's studio space that was an absolute steal. Now, I've added the  long dresser, headboard, mirror, and two nightstands for Archer into the mix. On top of all this, Chris built shadowbox frames for me this week and is currently making a farmhouse table for the Pastor's family to enjoy in their new home. 
NEVER a dull moment around here!

Chris and our son, Jere picked up the items for Archers room and we put them to the side in the shop. Somehow, someway I have to make time to paint this furniture for Archers room. Possibly paint the entertainment center for the studio space and the bookcases for Sean. 
None of this certainly will happen before we leave on our trip to Florida.
After Florida, we have one week here together before I leave for India for 3 weeks.
There is a lot of packing and planning for that trip as I will be painting and blogging again from there!
I guess there will be a LOT happening around here for the next couple of months!

In the meantime, I make lists of things to do before we leave.
I have a dozen new shadowbox canvases to stretch and paint white.
I have to pack clothes, Kitchen items, food stuffs, bicycles, Artworks, extra artworks, 2 tents and all the other equipment for the journey to Florida in the truck and Gypsy Gal.
I also have an alteration to the Gypsy Gal I want to complete before we leave.
Our shower area is a little claustrophobic and I need to alter the curtain for our hanging clothes after Chris reworked the refrigerator closet combination.
Added to the list...

In the meantime, I paint!

Starfish, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6 inches
Day 9 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Friday, December 14, 2018

Lacy Murex

Today's offering is a neat little painting that turned out beautifully. I really enjoy painting texture and murex shells are full of nooks and crannies. They are also quite colorful in a muted way. I know my parents shell collection from the Phillipines  has a couple of gorgeous  murex's.  One of these has deep brown edges and is very tiny.

Anyway, I hope you're not tired of shells yet as I am creating more to take into the Florida shows. We are getting excited about our upcoming trip, making plans for our time together.

Packing, painting, planning.
Showtime in less than two weeks.

Lacy Murex, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6
Day 8 of the 100 days 100 paintings Spring 2019

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Bay Scallop

I've always called these Queen Scallops. I have now discovered I was incorrect and may still be!
I think these are what we call Bay scallops. They are a member of the mollusk family as well.
I have collected dozens of them while at Sanibel Island.
They are edible and one of my favorites to eat. 
They can develop both male and female organs making them able to fertilize their own eggs. Even though they spawn millions of eggs, only ONE survives to adulthood out of 12 million!
Spawning takes a lot out of these little guys too, once they've spawned, they become weak and vulnerable. 
The REALLY neat thing about them is they have 60 bright blue eyes!
Fascinating to me.
Hopefully for you too!

Bay Scallop, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6
Day 7 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Turkey Wing shell

Today's entry is commonly called a turkey wing.
So called because you can almost see a turkey wing when they are together.
I love these shells and have actually found some on the beach. The beaches at Sanibel island are the best shelling in the United States and I found lots of Turkey wings and Queen Scallops as well. Their name, is really Arca Zebra and they are a bivalve as well as a mollusk. 
They have up to 50 teeth at their connection point, but it is rare to find them together.  Interestingly enough, they are eaten in both Bermuda and Venezuela.
I imagine they are tough, a lot like Conch!

Turkey Wing, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6 inches
Day 6 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Horsehead Conch

Horsehead Conch indeed!
This gastropod is not even a member of the conch family.
It is however, the largest gastropod in American waters. It is also the largest in the world.
The shell can reach 24 inches! It lives at or near 20 feet of water.
It feeds on other gastropods including the tulip shell, lightning whelk, Queen Conch and some murex. They have also exhibited cannibalistic behaviour, eating others smaller than themselves. 
They have also been observed eating hermit crabs!
The creature inside is a bright orange, probably to scare off predators. 
Generally bright colored things in the ocean are poisonous.

Interestingly, when I "goggled" horsehead conch, the first 3 photos were of paintings I have done in previous years! I guess no one else paints them!

Horsehead Conch, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6
Day5 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Monday, December 10, 2018

Sharks eye snail

The sharks eye is a type of snail typically found off the coast of Florida.
They have also been found at Core Banks, North Carolina.
So called Sharks eye, because the whorl in the center resembles a sharks eye.
Explain how that works to me. So near, and yet so far!
It is a predatory type of sea snail that can grow to 3 1/2 inches.
This guy is painted larger than life though, measuring about 5 inches.

Things are progressing here at the studio, Commissions are well on their way to being completed.
Yesterday, I managed to stretch 7 beautiful 16 x 16 shadowboxes for the 
trip to Florida later this month. 
Today I managed to get a bargain for our daughter Jessica P. in an entertainment center to be used either in the study or craft room of the new house. (Trust me, it was a HUGE find!)
Now we just have to store it until their house gets finished.
Tonight finds me sketching at least three of the shadowboxes with sea turtles.
Tomorrow I teach at the Shepherds Place for the last time this year. 
I will miss the Seniors, the volunteers, and the director until next year.
Never a dull moment with Brushstrokes & Brilliance at the Raccoon Retreat studio! 

Sharks eye snail, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6 inches
Day 4 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Florida cone shell

Florida Cone Shell
I have a deep respect for cone shells. While living in the Philippines, my parents went scuba diving quite frequently. I myself loved to comb the beach for shells. One of the first things I learned at the tender age of 6 was not to pick up one of the cones. I was to give them a wide berth, and tell a villager, adult, or parent that I had found one. I was walking one day and my parents were between dives, so they were on the beach. I was beach combing as usual and while I did not find a cone shell, one of the village children did. She was immediately stung and the toxins quickly did their work. 
My father tried desperately to save her, to no avail. 
Both my parents hugged me a little harder that night, knowing this girl was close to me in age.
I was no longer allowed to beach comb alone, but still gave cone shells a wide berth, thinking they could shoot me from a distance.

Imagine my surprise then to find we have cone shells here in the United States! 
Also imagine my shock to find out that ALL cone shells are poisonous !
There are several varieties, both on the Florida and California coasts. This one of course is a Florida Cone. While not as poisonous as their Pacific cousins, from what I have read they too can cause significant damage if you are stung by one. These are found along the Sanibel island area, near where we will be showing in January.

Florida Cone Shell, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6inches
Day 4 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Steady flight

Steady Flight is a reverse for a collector requesting a bird to match her other two shorebirds. She wants them all facing in the same direction. The process starts easily enough, customer messages me, I answer and we're off to the races! Of course this is a Christmas present, 
so I can only say it is going to Little Rock, Arkansas. 
Shipping on Monday to his new abode.
He's also in a version of sepia that was from a few years back.  The client knows it may not be an exact match, but wants it more brown than the blue sepia I have used for two years now. The other hitch in my get along and get it done was the canvas. It is on a shallow edge canvas that I used to paint on when framing the painting in the shadowbox frames. You see, I had used my last 
two shallow 12 x 12's when my grandson came to visit for a project he was doing. I looked through my stretcher bars, trying to find 4 -12 inch ones to no avail. 
A quick trip to Hobby Lobby found a 12 x 12 and got the project going.

Steady flight, Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12
Day 3 of the 100 days~ 100 paintings Spring 2019

Friday, December 7, 2018

Spring 2019 100 days

The verdict is in for Spring show. While I have not received all of my Yes's or No's, I do have some news about the shows we are participating in next Spring.

We will leave at the end of December for a short two weekend swing into Florida. I have two shows, one in Estero Florida and the other in Naples, Florida the following weekend. Both are highly rated shows! I am excited to see what both of them bring in the way of new collectors. I am extremely grateful for  a wonderful dog sitter that is willing to stay with the fur babies while we are away too!
Then I take a break, except for painting!
(AND another trip to India for 3 weeks!)
March 9th and 10th ~ Orange Beach Festival of Art, Orange Beach Alabama~Accepted!
March 15th~17th~ Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival, Fairhope Alabama~Accepted!
March 23rd & 24th ~ Gulf Breeze Celebrates the Arts, Gulf Breeze Florida~Tentative
April 6th & 7th Art in the Pass, Pass Christian, Mississippi~Tentative
April 27th& 28th Melbourne Art Festival~ Melbourne, Florida~ Tentative
May 4th &5th Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, Amelia Island, Florida~Tentative

Thus begins the Spring 100 days. At least it should have begun a couple of days ago!
Today, Friday marks 14 weeks until the Arts and Crafts show here in Fairhope.
98 days................In the meantime, I only have 19 days until we leave for Florida!
So, I hope you're willing to put up with my posts for a while!
Same drill guys, I will be giving away a painting valued at $195.00 at the end of the 100 days.
Every like, comment, and share is a point towards the winning painting.
I am giving bonus points for those that follow the blog, register as a follower and comment!

This painting above is the final of the four created for my Africa series.  A lovely couple here locally have purchased all of them for their living room. One of the owners is Gib Leonard.
Gib Leonard helps run Buy a Brick Foundation which supports and feeds a lot of children the only meal they may get every day.  He is on Facebook and would love for you to check the Foundation out and perhaps donate to feed the kids. Back to this painting, When Gib and Leigh came back this year, they had a photo taken in a restaurant of a painting. I was not quite sure what kind of animal it was, but after some research, I found out they are Painted Dogs. A fascinating animal, they are about 50 pounds and the patterns on their coats is so beautiful! They have red, yellow, brown, white, and black on their mottled coats. No two are the same, each one has it's own distinct coat. They are endangered, with only about 7,000 left in the wild. Their habitats are shrinking, and they are hit by cars frequently on the roads that cross their territory. They live in subpopulations ranging from 2 to 276 mature individuals. They mate for life and have between 2 and 21 pups. They are purely carnivorous. They typically hunt antelope. They cooperate to hunt with everyone getting a portion of the prize, even those left behind because of puppies or sick. They greet each other joyously when they return. Interestingly, they lack dew claws and only have 4 toes per foot. They also don't howl like other dogs.
Beautiful and interesting as well,  their scientific name, Lycaon pictus means Painted Wolf.

This couple also had me paint a Lion of Judah for them, to go with their African animals.
This one measures 24 x 24

Days 1 & 2 of the Spring 100 days 2019
Both paintings are SOLD!