Thursday, December 17, 2009

DSFDF Artist-Exchange Challenge

DSFDF Challenge entry
acrylic on 10" x 8" x .75" on wrapped canvas

Reference Photo of unknown exchange artist

Most of you know about Different Strokes for Different Folks - DSFDF. It is an extremely well attended challenge just over 1 year, hosted by Karin Jurik, an artist in Atlanta. This Challenge was done last year and apparently it was so popular that Ms. Jurik repeated it this year. I wasn't painting at this time last year and did not know anything about this or any other Challenge, so I am very glad to be able to join it this year. There are an amazing 180 entries, that is 180 artists painting each other, compared to last year with 130 artist entries.

However, humbling, is the word that comes to mind. It is so intimidating to paint someone else, but I've looked closely at the 43 paintings entered so far and almost everyone tells of their own struggle with this challenge. I considered painting it over - and perhaps over again, but felt that all I would be doing is wasting time. It was a challenge, not a commission. Hopefully the learning from the project will suffice!

To the artist that I have been entrusted with, I am sorry that I am not a better artist. It would have been my pleasure to paint a wonderful likeness winning your approval. Please know that I would have liked to do a better job! Since you are also painting me, I can only hope that you are struggling as I did! My skin colors and facial detail are not my strong suit. I love portraits but so far haven't learned enough to do them justice.

Aside from my painting, this challenge and the work of the other artists is fascinating and a learning experience. Please take the time to visit DSFDF and see for yourself!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

NZ Art Guild Challenge #16 - Photo Challenge

West Yellowstone Angel Lodge
acrylic on 14" by 18" Centurion Wrapped Linen
Email me for availability

Whew! I'm doing a little better about getting a few painting ready. This is for the New Zealand Art Guild Challenge #16 and it's their last challenge for the year. This is my 5th entry with them. It is also a piece I'm very fond of. The challenge was to paint the Angel statue. I added from one of my favorite places, West Yellowstone City, MT. When my Mother and I were there in 2003 on our 10 week RV journey, it started to snow on the beautiful lodge pole pines. Due to the weather, I was unable to stop along the road to take as many photo's as I wanted and have longed for them ever since. I used this opportunity to paint them as a backdrop to the statue. If only Mother could see this one!

GOOD NEWS UPDATE: I have also completed the Main Street Bridge, St. John's River view for the book cover of Dottie Fletcher's book, Remembering Jacksonville, to be published this spring. The best news is not only did Dottie like it, so did her publisher and they have accepted my painting. Since this is painted by request for Dottie's book, I will not be publishing the painting until her book is published. BUT, I couldn't wait to tell you the GOOD NEWS UPDATE now!

I have a few paintings in various stages of planning and progress and hopefully will have several more to post before the end of the year.

Hi to all my friends and thank you for being so patient with me since I have not been blogging as regularly as I would like.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Art Challenge #22: Turbulence

Long Play Turbulence
acrylic on 12" by 12" canvas board
available $148 plus $8 shipping
email me for Paypal invoice

Yes - NO?? - Yes I say, I almost forgot how to access my blog, it's been a month! Why? I really don't have an answer. My life seems to have spun out of control - for no good reason! Slowing down? A little, maybe, but I hope it's just a valley!

I did go on a cruise earlier this month and am going to Orlando later today to visit another theme park - Animal something. Getting lot's of small projects done but unfortunately, of N.R.S.V. or of N.R.V. That would be: "no redeeming social value" and "no redeeming value".

I did find a box of old coins sitting on a box in my daughters old closet. I have no idea why it was there or where they had been, but they were my Fathers. I looked up the value of many of them and found out this: A $2.00 bill is and always will be worth $2.00 - period. They are not scarce, endangered or increasing in value - even the old silver bills.

I did find out most old silver dollars, dated 1881 to 1923, are worth about $16 to $20. I guess the valuable ones are in someone else's collection!

And finally, I learned these questions:
  1. Just what do you do with a box of old money?
  2. Cash it in for a few dollars profit?
  3. Save it for your descendants?
  4. Give it away?
  5. Count it once-in-awhile and dream of really big profits?

My Father was a coin and stamp collector. I was the most like him and the least liked by him. Therefore, I was the only one that followed in his footsteps, I too, became a coin and stamp collector. He really did have nice collections of each, mine are still worth face value!

During the 60's, my Grandfather dug up many old mason jars filled with old silver coins he had buried in his garage sometime between the depression and WWII. Maybe he knew he had enough money to live on and would no longer need his buried treasure or maybe he got caught up in the coin collection, but he gave all the coins to my Father. I so clearly remember newspapers spread out on the carpet covered in silver and more silver. I really felt like I was from a rich family!

They lived in this Cherokee, Kansas home for just over 50 years. My Grandfather sold it to one of the children of the family that lived next door. My first husband was also from Cherokee and occasionally hears news about the people and town. It seems Nancy and her husband were the lucky finders on one overlooked mason jar of silver coins. Can you imagine such a find? I smile every time I think of how they must have felt, almost like winning (a small) lottery! The story goes, they were concerned that if we, the grandchildren, learned of their find, we might try to claim it. I'm sure, under the same circumstances, I would have felt the same way.

Secretly, I did expect to inherit Daddy's coins and stamps, but he did know what to do with them and sold most everything. Oh cripes, I really should paint more!

The painting is for the 22nd Challenge - Turbulence of The Artists Challenge. After 15 consecutive entries, I missed #20 - Shifting Shadows and #21 - The Reveal. It was time to let my OCD take a vacation and besides, I just couldn't think of how to paint either of those topics! My ego took a hit for it, but those and several other things just fell into the black hole of my indifference while I was spinning.

I wish two things:

  • When I'm feeling productive, I wish I could get more things done.
  • I wish I felt productive 80% of waking time. Instead, when I am feeling productive, I stay up 2 or 3 days in a row and then sleep for 24 hours. Isn't that counterproductive?

And even with all that, I just can't get much done. My mind thinks of 20 things I want to accomplish. The clock allows for only 6 or 8 of those things. I wonder, just when will I get those 6 or 8 things done so I can move onto the seventh thing?

Oh, Oh, I know this is a long post and this NEW item should rate at the very top of the post, but I can't wait to share this. My oldest friend - I've blogged about her before - Dottie Fletcher has asked me to submit a painting for consideration, of the St Johns River, a bridge and the Jacksonville skyline for the cover of her upcoming book to be published soon. I have studied the 2 photographs she sent me and prepared six small canvas'. I plan to sketch/paint with simple details three interpretations of each photo; something like a direct interpretation, an exaggerated interpretation and a rescaled perspective. If she likes any of them, I will then paint one or two large canvas'. Now this I'm really excited about and for my oldest friend in the world - who needs smelly old coin and stamp books that you don't know what to do with?

A few last thoughts about today's painting:

  • I have every LP (long play) & 45rpm record I ever had. (No great surprise there!)
  • I won my first 45rpm on a radio station in Atlanta around 1957 - One Hundred Pounds of Clay.
  • Dottie and I used to turn the bass all the way up and sit on the floor leaning against the stereo console cabinet listening to Peter, Paul and Mary.
  • Daddy bought that console with money made from his hobby of making shrimp nets.
  • I have loved music all my life. I played the baritone, trumpet and french horn for 4 years. I was terrible at it and couldn't make a successful ombasure if my life depended on it.
  • I still have my ukulele. It's on the floor of the attic resting close to the now antiquated vinyl that I'll never get rid of.
  • My greatest personal disappointment was not having a singing voice. If only I'd known you don't have to have a beautiful voice to sing.
  • I've never heard of the singing/reggae group Turbulence. They have more than 20 published albums since 2000.
  • I love black people but I'm not crazy about the term "African-American". If we're American, we're American. I should call myself "Austrian (maybe German) with a touch of English, Swiss and back-yard dog-American".
  • I have 2 black dogs and one red dog but none of them can sing.
  • My previous dog, Garth Brooks, could sing - quite well. I've blogged about him before, too.

Say good morning Beckie!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

DSFDF Challenge #27 - Week 49-51 - City Rooftops

City Rooftops
acrylic on 8x6 canvas board
available $40 including shipping
email me at

This is the 27th Challenge of Karin Jurik's Different Strokes From Different Folks, week 49-51, City Rooftops. This is the second time I've entered this challenge. The good news is I was able to stay awake painting this one! Ah, sleep!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Art Challenge #19: Beyond Boundaries

Mei Mei Meets a Piranha
acrylic on 24" by 20" Centurion LX linen gallery wrapped canvas
Available $495 plus $18 shipping
Contact me at

The write-up for this post was doomed from the beginning! At first I was just too tired to do it. I was falling asleep while I was awake and when I'd move to do the next task, I realized I'd just been asleep! Weird! Then, earlier tonight, I came in and edited it with a really really great write-up - and you can guess - I lost it! Must not have meant to be!
So, this is the 19th challenge of The Artist Challenge hosted by Vikki North, Beyond Boundaries. It was not an easy topic for me, I started with the very uninspired and progressed to some interesting ideas but I couldn't develop them. I couldn't really say how I ended up with this, but once I came upon it, I knew it was what I wanted.
I'm sorry I can not rewrite what was lost. I took it as a sign, it didn't need to be said!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

FTM Following the Masters Challenge #7

Self Portrait #7 - in the azalea's
acrylic on 8" by 10" canvas board

This is for Following the Masters Challenge #7 - Self Portrait. It is the first acrylic of myself I've done - oh yes, Paint Beckie in the Shower was acrylic - but certainly not of the portrait genre! I used the new color triad paints for my skin, but ended up completely covering it. I think that will either take a lot of work or probably a lesson or two! Optical illusion: The bill of my cap either looks turned up like a ball cap or turned down like a news-boy cap. It is a news boy cap, the kind I almost always have on! In the photo, taken in March 2008, it is actually a pink suade cap, I took the liberty of changing the color - because I could!

I had a wonderful time with my friend Joy at Epcot. I found out that amusement parks are OK but I really prefer more natural settings! However, I was offered on top of my free birthday pass to upgrade to a 3-day ticket for an additional $52. Since a one day admission is now $79, that seemed too good to pass up, so in the next six months, I will try to go to Adventure Park to see the animals. The food was wonderful! I took over 100 pictures, maybe I can get 2 or 3 turned into paintings - maybe!

The weather is finally starting to cool off here in Northern Florida. Saturday it is supposed to be 72 high and 55 low. I've invited my family over for a night on the patio with the firepit in full blaze! I also have 6 or 7 challenges coming up over the next couple of weeks, just hope I can get to at least 4 of them. Sometimes it seems like challenge painting is all I do but they have taught me so much and lead me to places I would never have gone alone - so - for now, that is the way it is! I'm going to have to work hard next month - Sherry always has her entries in early and mine are always the last minute! The tortoise and the hare!

Hi Dottie!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Celebrating my 61st Birthday - Going to Epcot!

Joy No. 1
Soft pastel on 9" by 12" ruff pastel paper!

I've talked before about - one day - I decided to become a painter! That day was February 10th just past. Over the next few weeks, I set about setting up my new Studio. I had painted randomly and without imagination over the last 25 years, but had never taken it serious. I started alternating between acrylic and soft pastels. Out of the 110 or so canvas' I've done since, only a handful are soft pastels, I am just drawn to acrylic. I am going to show you my 8th and 9th attempts done on February 21 and 22.

The above painting is of one of my dearest friends, Joy. I met her about 28 years ago when she was barely out of her teens and in X-ray school in Decatur, Georgia. During her training, she rotated through my department where I was a seasoned Technologist, 11 years her senior and mother to an 8 year old. We weren't busy that first day and times were different then - or there - I don't know which. But without fear of reprimand for not multi-tasking and working like an obsessed super-worker, we were able to spend that day, propped on our elbows, across a small table and chat our life histories. By the end of the day, we were friends - more like sisters - for life.

It took me about a year to realize the reality and quality of our friendship. She was young, beautiful - captivating really and the most sparkling and vibrant person I'd ever met. What could she possible see in me, I was sedate, old and fat!

Ironically, we both ended up in Jacksonville for many years together. About 8 years ago, she and her family moved to Orlando. Her daughter, Tasha, is my God-daughter. We are family. She is married to a wonderful man and husband, Scott and they have a son, Nick.

But, back to the painting, although I thought I captured her, I was disappointed with it, the paper was too rough. So, the next night, I tried it again on velour paper. Now, this many months later, I'm not sure which I like the best. They each captured her in different ways. I hope you will see some growth on my part since February. Just think what another year or two (or twenty -yee-gads, I'll be 81!) might do!

Joy No.2
soft pastel on 6.25" by 9.5" yellow velour paper

This photo was taken 5 years ago at Tasha's high school graduation. You can see my 'raggedy-ann' hair next to her. When we are together, we are usually in each others arms!

Joy still has many child-like qualities that make her always fun to be with. She absolutely loves all things Disney. She and her family always have season passes and own a Disney vacation package that has taken them all over the country year after year. Her birthday is September 7th and mine is October 7th. While visiting her last May, we decided to spend my birthday at Epcot since I can get a free pass as a Florida incentive.

So, tomorrow, Wednesday think of us at Epcot eating our way from country to country! My daughter, Mary Ellen, will stay with my 3 dogs. Stella, my new rescue, has never made-up with anyone but me, so we are anxious to see if by staying here, they will finally get to know one another. Either way, Annie and Erin are the loving queens and will keep Stella in line! I'll be home Thursday - hopefully with a story to tell!

Monday, October 5, 2009

I can't wait for Christmas TV movies to start!

Santa Claus #1
acrylic on 12" by 12" canvas board
available $104 plus $8 shipping

I saw a documentary on CBS Sunday Morning about a artist that had painted a Santa Claus every year for about 20 or 30 years. He didn't sell them, nor, as far as I know, does he have them on line. My memory of them was they were large and magnificent! Would you happen to know the name of this artist? Or how to find out? I went to CBS Sunday Morning but was unable to trace him.

Since this is the first year I am painting regularly, I want to paint several Santa's. I suspect (or hope) some my family members will want one. So, this is the first of what I hope to be a 2009 Santa Series. Don't forget, if I don't know you like one, I won't think to offer it to you!

I have used several new techniques and products in this painting. Recently, I attended a Liquitex Acrylic Paint demonstration given by Peter Andrew, Education Advisor, sponsored by Crafts and More, a local art and craft store. I used several mediums and agents that make the process of creating more interesting! I am so grateful to both Crafts and More and Liquitex for providing this program. I learned so much - just wish I could remember more! and the samples were great, too!
  • Golden Flow Release - I had recently started using this product. I use it to make a smooth background. I really love the effect and use it often now. Mr. Andrew suggested adding a drop to your water bucket. It helps clean the brush and makes a quick release to thin paint for quick spreading. An unexpected result is my water bucket has never been so clean!
  • Liquitex Pouring Medium - Maybe this isn't what it is intended for, but I used it to thin my soft acrylic especially for Santa's hair.
  • Liquitex Iridescent Medium - I use this in probably every painting I do. I love iridescent and metallic colors and never hesitate to use them.
  • Liquitex Liquithick Thickening Gel - Wow! This is really unique stuff. Mr. Andrew demonstrated it thickening soft acrylic to heavy acrylic. I used it to thicken heavy white to make the texture of the fur on Santa's coat. It immediately became thick and dry-like. I dabbed it on with a stiff brush. I really liked this stuff!
  • Golden Gold Mica Flake (Large) - Loving the metallic effects, when I saw this product, I knew I had to have both it and the (Small) variation. I hadn't used it before, even on a test sheet, but couldn't resist adding it to adorn Santa's fur to add the Holiday look.

With a 40% off coupon for attending the program, I got the book, Putting People in Your Paintings by Laurel Hart. Even though this is a watercolor book, it is packed with useful information and I have read it from cover to cover! On page 62 is a great demonstration about using primary triads. I have ordered all the colors used to make them, but not all of them have arrived.

  • High-Key Triads(Light-Value Triads)
  • Red: Alizarin Crimson
  • Yellow: Yellow Ochre, Gamboge, Raw Sienna or Transparent Oxide Red
  • Blue: Manganese Blue

  • Low-Key Triads (Dark-Value Triads)
  • Red: Transparent Oxide Red or Alizarin Crimson
  • Yellow/Blue: Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre with Manganese Blue
  • Yellow/Blue: Transparent Oxide Red with Ultramarine Blue

  • Light Skin Fleshtone Triads
  • Red: Cadmium Red Medium
  • Yellow: Yellow Ochre, Gambage, Cadmium Orange, Quinacridone Gold
  • Blue: Manganese Blue

  • Dark Skin Fleshtone Triads
  • Red: Cadmium Red Medium
  • Yellow/Blue: Transparent Oxide Red with Manganese Blue
  • Yellow/Blue: Transparent Oxide Red or Raw Sienna with Ultramarine Blue

Only having Ultramarine Blue (so far) I used Cadmium Red Medium and Transparent Oxide Red to make the skin color. It was too red, so I added Yellow Ochre and Quinacridone Gold. I love people of all colors, but this is supposed to be a white Santa. Maybe he is Indian or maybe he is Universal. So don't give me the "Oh, I thought he was black, or brown, or red, or yellow or white"! He is Universal! It will be interesting to see what I learn with the triads as I use them to make more interesting people!

For now, all I want to say is MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Family Matters

Mama's Vase
11" by 14" by 3/4" gallery wrapped canvas
available $178 + $11 shipping
email me for PayPal invoice

This is a picture I considered for TAC #18 Hidden Treasure. Everything in this painting is very special to me.

What you barely see, is the top of my Grandfather's dental cabinet. He bought the cabinet used in 1920 from a retiring dentist who used it from about 1880. My Grandfather then used it until he retired in 1970. My Mother inherited it and I have used it since 1994 for scrap booking supplies and now as a jewelry cabinet. It is a beautiful piece that my Father refinished and has been a cherished piece in our home.

My Mother made the vase. She enjoyed ceramic's in her later years and we all have many of her pieces. Inside the vase is lavender I bought in Waynesville, NC visiting my sister Beverly.

The two bunnies are from my daughter Mary Ellen's collection. I started her a bunnie collection when she was 3 or 4 years old. Although she no longer collects them, they are all over both our homes.

The basket is collapsible and made of a beautiful piece of wood and signed by the artist. I don't actually remember where I bought it, but added it to my collectibles in the last 20 years. Finally, the gardenias are from a Christmas decoration also about 20 years ago. I loved the look of them and have never put them away.

Let's see, I got my Grandfather, Father, Mother, sister and daughter included! Not bad - for a FAMILY MATTER!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Art Challenge #18: Hidden Treasures

Hidden Treasures
acrylic on 12" by 16" by 3/4" Centurian LX linen gallery wrapped canvas
SOLD to Sheila $206

I'd like to tell Sherry, Irina, Megha and Mary Thank you.
Thank you for your interest in me and my work.
Thank you for your kind comments.
Thank you for believing in me and letting me know.
You are all so special to me and I want to tell you in a special way, UP TOP!

This is the seventeenth challenge for The Artist Gallery, Hidden Treasures. I got up Saturday morning and took pictures of the special places where I keep treasures in my house. The painting is a composite of 3 things. The first is a shelf from one of my bookcases. The dolls are on a desk in my living area, the blue wizard is a favorite of mine. The antique powder shaker is from my grandmothers, it was in the bedroom I always stayed in; I don't know where it originally came from. I'm happy with this painting. It took many hours, for that, I was surprised!
The following quotes can say it better than I can.
About books:
  • Books may well be the only true magic. ~Alice Hoffman

  • For books are more than books. They are the life, the very heart and core of ages past, the reason why men lived and worked and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives. ~Amy Lowell

  • There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island ... and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life. ~Walt Disney

About memories:

  • As humans we look at things and think about what we've looked at. We treasure it in a kind of private art gallery. ~Thom Gunn
  • The many memories I will forever treasure. ~K. Hooton, from Just Not The Same

  • The secret of a happy life isn't buried in a treasure chest... it lies within your heart. ~Author Unknown, from Life is for Living

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Art Challenge #17: The Gift

acrylic on 11" by 14" by 3/4" gallery wrapped 'The Edge' canvas
SOLD to Joy & Scott $178 plus $11 shipping

This is the 17th challenge for The Artist Challenge. It is so much fun working with this challenge and the great group of people. This challenge is The Gift - Wow - the sky is the limit with this one! AND, this is a special landmark for me! This is my 12th consecutive entry. The Artist Challenge is the 1st challenge I ever entered. I hope to make another dirty dozen! Well, maybe dirty isn't the right adjective, but what the heck! It make a good movie!

This is painted after the old master Gustav Klimt. The painting, The Three Ages of Woman was painted in 1905, oil on canvas, 180 x 180cm. It is now located in Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy. The painting is of an obviously older, distraught, standing woman looking down on a full standing young woman holding a child. For some reason, the painting is often divided into two or three images and made into posters and prints. I chose to paint the torso of only the young mother holding a child which is called Mother and Child.

There is nothing more precious than a mothers love for her child.
There is no gift on earth that is more precious to a mother.
My daughter is my gift. My daughter is precious to me.
I could think of nothing else when challenged to paint 'THE GIFT'!

I'm am including the whole painting, The Three Ages of Woman. It is such an interesting and complex painting. It takes a few minutes to take it all in. I included two different sites about Gustav Klimt above. They are both worth visiting. I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you for stopping by. It is always good to see you!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Self Portrait Global Love In Challenge #2

Self Portrait #3

soft pastel on 61/4" by 91/2" tan velour pastel paper

OK, I'm adding this on - the point is the Self Portrait Global Love In Challenge #2, hosted by David Lobenberg. This is such a successful Challenge, probably because it started with David and our friend Milind Mulick from Pune, India. It drew attention from a world wide audience. There were many artists from Spain. Anyway, David, being pretty clever, I'd say, waited several months before offering the second challenge. This time, our self portrait is to include a hat or some type of head covering. For those of you that know me, or maybe just seen my picture on line, I am seldom without a hat. I don't even remove it when I lay down!

I remember the first hat I was attracted to was a little royal blue billed cap that came with a Beneton promotion for the perfume Colors. Remember that fragrance? I got that hat in about 1988, still have it in fact, although I no longer wear it. I probably wore that hat four years before I added to that collection. Crazy little things - without rhyme or reason - can start a life long passion!

I have written a long and detailed account of the origin of the photograph this painting was taken from. I hope it is interesting and I hope you read and enjoy it. But, all the details for this painting challenge have now been covered!

Is it proper to say you love your own work? Or even better/worse your own self portrait? Well, proper or not, I love this drawing! I love the hat, the shirt, the beads, the drop-off of color on the bottom and most important, the origin of the original photograph. The photograph was taken by a brilliant Jacksonville portrait photographer, Pete Helow.

Pete Helow is a patient and kind man! He had to be to put up with the day my family descended upon his studio - like a horde of locus! He is multi-talented and multi-faceted, being also a musician and now an aspiring pilot! I like people that do lots of varied things - you never call someone like that dull! But here is the story of what he did for me and for my family.

In May 2008, I saw a commercial on TV advertising his photography studio. I loved the work I saw and knew immediately that I would meet Pete and it was going to be expensive and a really big undertaking! My 60th birthday was approaching, October to be exact!

For my 40th birthday, I put together an album I called "My 40 Year Retrospective". It was a huge undertaking and took me months and lots of dollars. I started at my 1st picture as I was carried out of the hospital. I took every year and attempted to include the house I lived in, my friends and pets, my birthday and anything else that seemed interesting for that year. I combed through every family album that I could find.

My Father had taken slides most of our growing up years and I was especially interested in finding a photo of my first dog, Gaman, a little toy poodle mix that had been given to me when I was about 10 years old. I couldn't resist a couple of other slides and started by having a handful converted into prints. Remember that at that time, the late 1950's, most photo's were still printed in B&W and these were modern day size and beautiful colors. When my Brother saw them, he said "Beckie, did you find an old roll of film that hadn't been developed?"

I suppose the hand writing is - or was - already on the wall. Both my brother Bruce and my sister Beverly wanted their own Retrospective! This became a massive project but worth every minute. I still remember the joy of working long hours every night after work, the organization it required to select the photo's by year and subject for each of the three Retrospectives, taking them out and picking them up for reprints and then labeling them with the best information I could find and finally organizing them into each album. Whew! I'm impressed all over again!

For my 50th Birthday, I decided to do a Timeline of my life. Although not as glamorous as the Retrospectives, it also became a massive project - just a more personal one. I used Excel and it took 36 pages. I included every year by 6 month intervals.

* My Immediate Family, Extended Family, Friends and Co-Workers - Births, deaths and Marriages
* Mine and my daughter Mary Ellen's - Babysitters/Daycare, Schools, jobs with hourly wage and annual income and cross-reference schools for Beverly & Bruce - we were seldom ever in the same schools due to age differences
* Homes - location with addresses and monthly rent or mortgage payments
* All pets - YES - 50 years worth!
* My BFF's and friends in general
* Facts, Antidotes and Events
* Presidents and Wars
* Headlines & Media Blitz'
* Trivia - This and the above 3 requiring hours and hours in the Library!
* Things about my Dad
* Things about my Mom

So, for my 60th birthday, I again had the urge to celebrate the landmark! But I didn't just want photographic portraits of me, I wanted one great portrait of "the sisters" and we would coordinate our outfits. If Bruce had been alive, I would probably have done the siblings, but with his passing, my sister-in-law Barbara became my sister. I have actually posted about Barbara and our relationship in previous posts. Since Mary Ellen is grown, she also falls into the "sisters" category. But, first I had to convince them how important this was to me and I would like them to join me without a lot of grief. Lucky for all of us, they got it! In fact, they ended up loving it - the planning, the shoot and especially - the finished product.

I met with Pete and his hair and make-up artist, Rene a week before the session to find out as many details as possible. Then I had a strategy planning session with Bev, Barb & ME. We color coordinated at least four outfits, selected props and jewelry. On the day of the shoot, we arrived - each with a large suitcase and tons of bags. I think Pete & Rene were surprised to see how 'heavy' we were traveling! Rene set out styling hair and make-up on each one of us. By the time the shoot was over, we had been at it over five hours! I was exhausted and looked it in the later pictures.

The one great group portrait turned out to be the least of the entire process! But did we ever have fun. It was probably one of the absolutely most fun family events we have ever done together. We ended up with coffee table books, the one Mary Ellen and I share has 27 pictures in it!

And you know what? I credit Pete and Rene with making our adventure a lasting memory that will out survive us all! However, as our family dwindles down to branches without leaves, I just hope some future obscure cousin will be interested their ancestors.

On a funny note, I was telling my physician who is my age, about my 40, 50 and 60th birthday commemorations. I said, "I'll guess I'll have to come up with some other idea for my 70th birthday"! He thought a moment and said this, "Gee, I'm hoping to just show up"! How right he is!

Please, click on Pete's link to see his web site and beautiful work. He is a treasure and gave my family a wonderful gift on my 60th birthday!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

NZ Art Guild Challenge #9 - old house

Taramea Bay Road, Southland, NZ
acrylic on 11" by 14" by 3/4" gallery wrapped canvas
Creative Mark "The Edge" painted on sides
available $179 plus $11 shipping
email me for PayPal invoice

The NZ Art Guild Challenge #9, this old house! I was very enchanted with this house when I first saw it. However, I had just finished a house on a lot for the London challenge with The Virtual Paintout. So, I turned the house around and visualized it as looking out the front door!

Then, I had to find something to look out onto. So, I went to Google Street View Maps and ventured around New Zealand. I started at the tip and ended at the middle where the country divides, near Nelson. I believe that is called the South Island. I loved everything I saw, but decided on the image I found at the bottom of the country in Southland. The house had a beach feel and look, so I thought it was important to have a beach or coastal look.

Then I got really, really interested in where I am, in Jacksonville Beach, Florida in relation to New Zealand. So, I went back to Google maps and finally to MSN encarta World Atlas.
This first globe represents about 1/3 of the globe. You can see in the bottom left corner, Southland, New Zealand and in the upper right corner, Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
The second globe represents the second third of the globe. It looks to me like Jacksonville Beach, Florida is about the same distance from South Africa. People go to Africa all the time and never think anything of it, but when you say you are going to New Zealand, everyone thinks you are going to the other side of the world!

This last globe just shows the last third of the globe. Now that is the other side of the world!

I've never had much interest in traveling outside North America. There is SO much in the United States to see, somethings I've seen and would love to see again and so much I've not seen. AND, Canada has a special place in my heart and interest.

However, now with the art challenges, meeting artists all over the world and Google Street View Maps, I am beginning to want to travel. South America, Africa, New Zealand and Australia to start with! Just think, with a computer, a bag of cloths and plenty of art supplies, you never have to go home again if you don't want too!

For your information, in case you're wondering, I DO still want to go home!

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Virtual Paintout - August Challenge - London

17 Soho Square, London
acrylic on 14" by 11" Pintura Hard Board
available $165 + $11 shipping
email me for PayPal invoice

The Virtual Paintout is such a fun challenge. Every time I go to the Google Maps City Streets, I learn something. Bill Guffey certainly hit on something with this one!

As usual, I barely made the deadline. In fact, I did miss this challenge once. Why, Delilah, Why do I procrastinate until the last minute? Guess I just work under pressure best!

As I say at this time every month, I can't wait to see where we will go next month!

Stay tuned, stay real ... and thanks for visiting me today!

The Inferno Challenge #1 - Myth, Magic & Legend

Myths & Legends
acrylic on 18" by 14" by 3/4" Centurian LX linen
gallery wrapped canvas
painting wrapped onto sides
Sold to Mary Ellen

As a spin-off from The Artist Challenge, The Inferno is a wonderful new Blog that is living up to its name. There is an incredible amount of daily input, both art and literature, often combined. The host, Heather Brown Truman, is a regular contributor to The Artist Challenge, a wonderful artist, Life Coach and now, a Blog host to watch, as The Inferno is sure to shoot to the top of the Blog charts!

Sharing with the responsibility of managing The Inferno is Eric Schweer. Eric is the "Dream Boy" of The Artist Challenge. He is constantly thinking of new ways to offer the public a chance to get to know The Artist Challenge. He is a gifted writer and with the premier of each new challenge, writes either a poem or short story to introduce the challenge. His work is dreamy, hence, the name "Dream Boy"!

Both Heather and Eric are tireless in their efforts to promote art and literature, The Artist Challenge and now The Inferno. I am so proud to be working with these two gifted individuals, the host of The Artist Challenge, Vikki North and all the contributing artists at The Artist Challenge.

It is amazing to me how my art has expanded and grown in the short while I've been affiliated with The Artist Challenge. I'm not going to link my first challenge, as it is not one of my favorites, but you can find it on the side bar and see for yourself. I'm growing!

The painting, Myths and Challenges is from an old master. Mine is significantly altered, no one would mistake one for the other, LOL! I was unable to locate the name or artist, but will include it in an UPDATE if I find out. When I began this painting, I wasn't sure if I could pull out a fairy or not! My sister-in-law, Barbara, saw it and agreed with me that this one might have to hit the scrap pile! Well, when you begin a painting, it is not supposed to look good, its got to start somewhere! Last Friday, we had a family dinner at my sister's and I said, "I want to show ya'al what's on the easel". Barbara was blown away. She said she couldn't believe I'd turned "the blob" into a fairy! Go figure, the life of an evolving artist!

I am, perhaps, the 5th biggest fan of The Artist Challenge. I'd say I'm the biggest fan, but believe me, there are 4 tireless people who work their butt's off making that place the best. The Inferno is no less to be reckoned with. It is a proud and mighty adjunct to The Artist Challenge and we are all as proud of The Inferno as we are TAC!

Please stop both and enjoy. If you asked me, you might be glad ya' did!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Art Challenge #16: Anonymous

Munich on a Snowy Night
acrylic on 7" by 9" on canvas board
available $215 including shipping
email me for PayPal invoice

This is a little beauty created for The Artist Challenge # 16, Anonymous. Tonight, this lone traveler walks down a hall of the Train Station or perhaps even an Airport. There is no way to know who he is or where he is going. We do know he is traveling light as he is carrying a backpack. You can feel the crusty snow on the glass, it is layered with a coat of glass beads and actually has texture!

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware
~Martin Buber

The Artist Challenge is exploding. The art and artists get better with every challenge. The site Host, Vikki North must be a genius, as she has developed an incredible Web Site Challenge that grows in its potential every month! Not to mention that Vikki is kind, compassionate and a very gifted artist! She is an inspiration extraordinaire! I am in love with her piece The Fireflies and The Fish which she did for the Moon River Challenge #14.

In the last two weeks, a new affiliated Blog has been added to The Artist Challenge umbrella. It is The Inferno - Charlatans of Literature & Art, hosted by Heather Brown Miller and co-authored by Eric Schweer. Heather has a 1st Challenge in the works and I am just about ready to post my painting for that challenge. I will talk about Heather, The Inferno and Eric more in the when I post for their first challenge!

Thank you for looking, but do yourself a favor, visit The Artist Challenge and The Inferno.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chickened Out!

Wings - Belted Kingfisher
acrylic on 5" by 7" canvas board
SOLD to Sheila $35 including postage

I painted this for the weekly theme "Wings On Things" from the site The Three Muses Challenge. I doubt a plain-old-bird was what they had in mind, but I just couldn't get a thought aout a fairy or angel or even a cow with wings. They suggested we "spread our wings and fly" - there I failed miserably! BUT, I did kind of like my birdy and since he does have 2 wings, I am entering him into this challenge. Perhaps if I continue to visit thier blog and participate, I will loosen up and have more "fun"!

A Very Good Morning to YOU!

UPDATE: I went to the site to post my link, but lost my nerve. Everyone's entries that I saw were - well, it's hard to explain. They appear to be collages, often victorian in style, greeting card appearance, very quaint - not a plain-old-bird on a canvas board.

Don't get me wrong:

  • I really like their art, I just think it is a different form than I work in.
  • I am very pleased with my Birdy!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Virtual Art Picnic - Creative Every Day

Picnic Collage, Recycling
mixed media on 12" by 12" canvas board
made during Tele-Conference - Virtual Art Picnic

Fun afternoon! Just what I needed - in fact, probably need one everyday! The host, Leah, joined a group of women together by a tele-conference. Leah has a smooth, soothing smokey voice that instantly inspires comfort. She tell us that today we are to just "do" without any fear of failure and without the need to create our masterpiece.

Leah then goes through a short meditation session to get ourselves center for the task at hand. I light a candle and lots of good quality art-lamps. I have been gathering clippings from the recycling box all morning. I look for old crafty things like raffia, rubber stamps, glue sticks, ribbon and even glitter (couldn't find glitter). I'm watching the clock for two hours ahead, but still manage to arrive four minutes late!

The conference lasts two hours. The first 30 minutes we are on the phone together. Then we work alone for the next hour and finally return together to share what we have done. One woman used Pink as her theme, inspiring me to add a lot of pink - mostly because it just looked good on the black background. Another woman worked on a project she had set aside. Everyone was inventive and enthusiastic about the project. But my favorite of all was the location of one of the participates; she was in the backseat as her husband drove home from a family reunion. I can't imagine having supplies enough to work in the car, but she did say it was a favorite travel method for her, so I assume she was experienced in what supplies would be needed. Little did she know she is in the company of my friend, artist Dan Lacey, who recently blogged with pictures about painting in the car while his wife drove, another favorite place for him to paint!

Sometimes I'd like to have a husband, I wonder, would mine drive me around so I could paint? My late husband was not known for his driving skills - on land, his skill was on the water and there he was a Master Chief! But mostly, I am lonely. Companionship is a thing to be treasured coming easily to some and briefly to others.

You never know what you're going to get in this life, so don't miss a thing!

I'd like to join another VAP, Leah hosts them every few months. It was a relaxing "just-for-me" time. Thank you Leah and the other participants for a lovely afternoon!

ADDENDUM: 3/30/11 I just got a new comment for "credit card casino" which prompted me to reread this post.

Oh my, I have let so much slip by. I need to renew, long-term thinking, Forward-thinking. Get up Beckie, it's not too late, but the sun is lowering closer to the horizon -

Thank God I love the night!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Grand Tour - 2nd in a Series

Moriah, New York Sidewalk
acrylic 11" by 14" by 3/4" wrapped canvas
available $115 including shipping
email me for PayPal invoice

Oh, so many memories here! In 2003, my Mother and I bought an RV and toured 10,501 miles in 10 weeks. I called it our Grand Tour or Driving Miss Daisy.

Mother was in poor health, passing away only 7 months after the trip. She used a wheelchair much of the time and was on a morphine pump due to severe back damage. She was on oxygen; that is why we got the RV, we could run the oxygen machine with the generator. And finally, she was in early stages of dementia. As I pushed her wheelchair with her portable oxygen tank attached to the back, all I could think was "Momma, I'm so proud of you" and I told her that all the time!

She was delightful on the trip. It was like she put all her problems aside to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Her joy was childlike and she relished every minute.

We were about the same size so I would dress her in my clothes, usually matching outfits, jewelry and fix her hair - the way I wanted it.
Then off we'd go to sightseeing, trying not to miss a thing!

I have already painted one photo from the trip, but didn't label it as part of the trip. It was They were never alone ... they had each other, dated July 31st of my dogs, Bill and Garth.

This scene was a front yard of the most quaint house, totally in ruin, but beautiful none-the-less, that I've ever seen. I want you to really know the feel of this piece, so I'm including a picture of that house. Click on each image to enlarge it. The wood detail is spectacular!

It is in Moriah, NY which is a lovely little town on the east border of the Adirondack State Park and just miles west of New Hampshire. It was such a lovely town, I could easily see myself living there. Mom and I went to a coffee/diner early for breakfast and just watched the morning unfold. Those are the memories that you can Cherish.

I started this painting last week as my entry to The Artist Challenge, No-Theme Theme, but about 3/4's of the way complete, just "changed my mind"! Now I know why. I needed to do this for The Grand Tour, and had a lot to say, too!

Enough for now, I did sort of leave the subject - the painting, to take a trip down memory lane. But that's not all! I will try to find photo's of the trip that might be interesting each time - I'm lucky enough - to paint another painting from The Grand Tour!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

NZ Art Guild Challenge #8 - Lines

Lines #1
mixed media (wc & acrylic) on 10 1/4" by 14 1/8" Aqvarelle Arches hot pressed paper
available $35 including shipping
email me for PayPal invoice

Lines #2
mixed media (wc & acrylic) on 9 1/4" by 13" blue tinted Neptune WC paper
available $35
email me for PayPal invoice

Lines #3
mixed media (wc & acrylic) on 9 1/4" by 13" pink tinted Neptune WC paper
available $35 including shipping
email me for PayPal invoice

This is my 3rd entry for The NZ Art Guild Challenge. The theme for the 7th challenge is Lines. Provided is a list of definitions for the word "lines" from Wikipedia.

I decided to play with this one. Just have fun. I started out to practice and when I was through, I liked all 3! That was a surprise! The iridescent acrylic gold used on the watercolors really pops, especially on Lines #1.

Here is something to think about! Who knew there were that many?

Lines... noun
1. a mark or stroke long in proportion to its breadth, made with a pen, pencil, tool, etc., on a surface: a line down the middle of the page.
2. Mathematics. a continuous extent of length, straight or curved, without breadth or thickness; the trace of a moving point.
3. something arranged along a line, esp. a straight line; a row or series: a line of trees.
4. a number of persons standing one behind the other and waiting their turns at or for something; queue.
5. something resembling a traced line, as a band of color, a seam, or a furrow: lines of stratification in rock.
6. a furrow or wrinkle on the face, neck, etc.: lines around the eyes.
7. an indication of demarcation; boundary; limit: the county line; a fine line between right and wrong.
8. a row of written or printed letters, words, etc.: a page of 30 lines.
9. a verse of poetry: A line in iambic pentameter contains five feet.
10. Usually, lines. the words of an actor's part in a drama, musical comedy, etc.: to rehearse one's lines.
11. a short written message: Drop me a line when you're on vacation.
12. a system of public conveyances, as buses or trains, plying regularly over a fixed route: the northbound line at State Street.
13. a transportation or conveyance company: a steamship line.
14. a course of direction; route: the line of march down Main Street.
15. a course of action, procedure, thought, policy, etc.: That newspaper follows the communist line.
16. a piece of pertinent or useful information (usually fol. by on): I've got a line on a good used car.
17. a series of generations of persons, animals, or plants descended from a common ancestor: a line of kings.
18. a department of activity; occupation or business: What line are you in?
19. Informal. a mode of conversation, esp. one that is glib or exaggerated in order to impress or influence another person: He really handed her a line about his rich relatives.
20. a straight line drawn from an observed object to the fovea of the eye.
Even more Definitions here:

Now, waiting for next time!