30 August 2010

new paintings

Remember when I shared this with you the other day?  Well, this is one of six paintings I worked on last week.  Remember how I was telling you they're so different from other things I've done up to now?  You'll have to tell me what you think of her, and whether she should keep coming to life in future paintings.  I'm hoping you can read the words, but if not this one's called, "she always loved the smell of rain".

Don't you just love the fresh, cool smell of rain?  Sometimes you can smell it in the air, before it even starts raining.  And around here, where summers can have oppressive heat and humidity, the smell of rain is always good news!


The girl in this painting is sooo my daughter, Brooke.  From the day that girl was born, she's had a smile on her face.  She is totally, completely, and eternally full of joy...  She's a constant reminder that,
"a cheerful heart fills the day with song".

The last one I'll share for today was inspired by an art journal page I did sometime last year.  I was contemplating how to be happy.  And I thought, if I just plant my "happy seeds" (regardless of how I may feel at the time), and just be thankful for the simple things -- my day to day blessings -- and pray for God's peace, He'll send the blessings. 
All I have to do is just plant the seeds,
He'll do the rest.

So, this painting is kind of about hope.  Hope that the future always holds a promise of something good to come. 

Like the seasons of the year.  I'm not a big fan of winter, the bitter cold and ice storms and seemingly eternal grey skies, but I get through it by remembering there's always the promise of spring.  

These paintings give me a sense of hope, expectancy, empowerment, and joy. 
I hope they bring you some joy too.    :)

blessings and happiness,

27 August 2010

while we are waiting...

While we are waiting for my lovely new paintings to finish being painted, I wanted to share with you some art of a different kind. 

Kindergarten art!! 

I don't know about you, but the innocence and freedom of how children express themselves through art always cheers me and gives me new hope in the world and humankind.  Doesn't it just always make you smile?

So today for your viewing pleasure, I am showcasing some of the work of Seany's Kindergarten Class proudly on display in the hall outside their classroom.  I was so impressed by their colors and beauty, that I just had to capture them for you to enjoy, too.

My assumption is that the teacher asked the children to create self-portraits.  Or maybe not, maybe she just let them do whatever they wanted to.  They made these on the first day of school and I've been admiring them every morning when I take Sean to class. I absolutely love them!  Don't you?

I couldn't share all of them, but these were my favorites.  I love how you can see little suns and flowers and hearts and fingers and toes and ears...  They're all so unique.  What fun it must be to be a kindergarten teacher. 

And of course, my favorite is the one Sean made...

I'm hoping my next post will showcase my new art for you.  So in the mean time, here's a little preview of what's been coming out of my brush... 
Hope you like it.   :)

blessings and happiness,

25 August 2010

happy art, rustic charm

So here I am finally sharing some of my work with you.  This is a series of paintings I did a few weeks back.  I really like them and plan to do more.  (By the way,  what do you think of this as a tag line:  happy art, rustic charm?  I'm still thinking about it...)

I'm a fan of old barns.  I don't know if it's because I grew up in the country, or if it's because they're such a nostalgic and iconic symbol of what's true, and pure, and good in America.  They're just wholesome, and kind of give me a reassuring feeling. 

I love bright, happy color too, so my skies aren't always blue, and I don't paint everything literally.  I like to express what I see through rose-colored glasses.  You know?  Just make everything full of joy.

I also love the fact that there's so many different kinds of barns:  tobacco barns, dairy barns, horse stables...

If this last one looks familiar, it's because it's based on the barn from the farm where I grew up.  This was actually originally a cattle barn, but we used it for horses, cows, and during the winter, we made up a special little area for the ducks. 

This came about because the winters were just too hard on them out by the pond.  But mostly for their safety.  The pond would freeze almost every year, and one year a neighbor's dog figured the ducks were a lot easier to catch when they couldn't swim away.  Not a good thing for the ducks.

So...we instituted annual Duck-catching Day.  You can only imagine what a spectacle that was!  Oh, did we have fun trying to round up those ducks!  But once we did, they were quite content with their winter accomodations. 

Can you tell purple is my favorite color?  I'm pretty sure I use it too much, but I just can't tear myself away from it!

So I come home from the art supply store the other day ready to paint, but what comes out of my brush is so different from these.  More whimsical, with words, and  a little happy girl (woman?) having these little adventures.  I'm excited to show them to you, but they're not done yet. 

But here's the thing, I'm wondering, "Is it ok that my art isn't always the same?".  I'm like having self-doubt, because I know I need to establish some sort of consistent style, but I just really felt inspired with these images yesterday.  When you see them, you'll have to let me know what you think.

Now it's back to the paints and brushes...

blessings and happiness,

23 August 2010

school days

School days have begun again.  It's sad, happy, unnerving and exciting all at the same time (and that's just me!).  This is the first year all 3 of the children are in school full time.  Up to now, the girls have been in school, but Sean has only had preschool twice a week.  This was his big year to start kindergarten!  He was very excited and proud to finally be going to the same school as his sisters. 

I so cherish having the children at home.  I have been so blessed to have been a stay-at-home mom all these years.  But I also feel happy for Sean that he finally gets to start a new and exciting part of his childhood.  He really feels like a big boy now.  This year promises to hold so many new experiences for him.

Not only is he going to learn letters, numbers and how to read, but he'll be making new friends and learning more about the world around him.  Rob even wants to sign him up for a kindergarten flag football league!  (Help me, Lord.)

The advent of all his excitement started a week or so ago when he lost his first tooth!  And a few days later he lost another one.  I had him call Daddy at work to share the good news, and I could hear Rob lamenting on the phone, "Oh, no, don't grow up, buddy..."

But, I guess there's nothing we can do about that.  That's just life:  one day you're bringing home a brand new baby and the next, he's loosing teeth and starting kindergarten. 

What's even more scarey is that his big sisters are now in 5th and 7th grades!  How did that happen?  In 2 years Brenna will be in high school! 

Well, any way, we're happy for all the changes around here.  I'm glad for new beginnings, because not only does it mean my children are on their way to discovering who they are and what they can be,
it means I get to spend more time making art!!

Now it's off to the art supply store!

blessings and happiness,

20 August 2010

memories of summer

Well, although it's another beautiful summer day outside today, summer vacation has sadly drawn to a close.  School days have begun again.  Today was the first day of school.  Although that brings it's own joys (more on that next time), I thought I'd reflect on some of the awesome things we got to see and do this summer.  


We had quit a few adventures this summer.  We spent Memorial Day and the Fourth of July on the farm, Brenna got to go to horse camp, Brooke spent a week with my in-laws in South Carolina, and all 3 of the children spent 2 fun-filled weeks with Grama and PawPaw, while Rob and I went on a long-awaited trip to the Pacific Northwest.

I had never been to the Pacific Northwest before, and have always wanted to go.  It totally lived up to all my expectations.  It is sooo beautiful.  Living in the midwest (where it's mainly flat and the only scenery is corn and soybean fields), you really appreciate the beauty of God's creation when you see something like Haystack Rock or Mt. Ranier or the Columbia River Gorge and all its waterfalls.  Everywhere we went, I was just in awe.

We spent time in Seattle, WA, Portland, Or, and a day visiting the Oregon coast. 

Of course, one of the highlights of Seattle was Pike Place Market.  I was in awe of the unending variety of fruits and vegetables -- way better than anything we find around here!  I could not believe the huuuge bouquets of flowers that were so gorgeous!  And I'm not talking about baby's breath and carnations.  We're talking lilies, sunflowers, roses and flowers that I didn't even recognize!  What would cost me like $60 around here, was $10 or $15 in the market!

The vendors were all sooo nice and would give you samples of everything from smoked salmon jerky to white peaches to Mt. Ranier firebush honey...

Rob and I went hiking, saw waterfalls, kayaked in Elliot Bay, road bikes in Portland, and, a lucky happenstance for Rob:  we got to Portland the same weekend as their brewer's festival! 

I could go on and on about what fun we had.  Going on all these adventures together was such a blessing (thanks Mom for watching the kids)! It reminded me of how much I cherish my Rob.  He truly is my best friend. 

Now that we're back to "real life" and I'm busy packing lunches and going to soccer games and guitar lessons, it's nice to know there's always another adventure waiting.  The adventure of raising a family, making art, paying the bills, and all along the way, knowing we're doing it together.

blessings and happiness,

19 August 2010

what's in a name?

What's in a name?  Well, to me, a lot.  I think names say something about who you are, or what your business is, or about your dog's personality, or some special hope you have for your child... 

So, I take names pretty seriously, (which is why it took Rob and I so long to come up with names for our children that we both agreed on).   ;)    So when I was thinking of a name for my little art business, it was pretty cool how God inspired me with gypsysticks.  I immediately thought, "That's perfect!".

gypsysticks suits me so well, I think.  Gypsy is a word that just really describes me and my personality pretty well -- at least how I see myself.  It also has sentimental meaning because it was the name of my first horse, Zantanan's Gypsy. 

And sticks sort of symbolizes the tools I use in my art -- paint brushes, markers, knitting needles, pens and pastels, sewing needles...  you get the idea. 

I just really wanted to share that with you today.  I hope maybe all these little clues and stories will help you get to know me a little better.  What are some names that mean something special to you?

blessings and happiness,

18 August 2010

road to the farm

Well, today I thought I'd share another window into what makes me who I am.  I've learned that all our experiences in life (the good and the bad) make us who we are.  One of the most influential experiences in my life is having grown up in Kentucky on a farm.  It is still a place that brings me great joy. 

Loading everyone up in the car and hitting the road to go home to the bluegrass state for a visit on the farm is an occassion anticipated by all around here.  Partly because it's such a quiet, peaceful place to just relax, and partly because my children LOVE seeing Grama and PawPaw, and Aunt Pam and Uncle Peter.  (I'm sure my Moms amazing cooking doesn't hurt either!)

the barn where we raised horses, cows, and one faithful barn cat, and is now occupied by several families of very helpful barn swallows

I spent many a hot humid afternoon perched on the sill of this old door contemplating life, listening to the cicadas, watching the horses graze, and smelling the wonder in a summer breeze

Today this place holds cherished memories for my children who find happiness the same way I did:  picking wildflowers, discovering frogs and turtles in the woods, climbing trees, swinging on the tire swing...

You know how people say "all roads lead home"?  Well, at the end of the day, my road home always leads to the farm.

blessings and happiness,

17 August 2010

dipping my toe in the pool

Good morning world.   :)   

You know how you feel when you really want to jump in the pool and have fun with everybody else, but you're afraid the water is super cold?  You know you should jump in and just get it over with, but sometimes you're like, "I think I'm just going to dangle my feet in the water for a minute first.  Get a feel for it.  Enjoy watching everyone else.  Then I'll get brave and jump in."

Well, this is me dipping my toe in the pool.  Only it feels like the Pacific Ocean and not just a swimming pool.  I know oceans have sharks and jellyfish and other things that might not be so nice, but today I'm going to be brave.  I'm going to think about the sun shining, and happy things like seahorses and starfish.  And to look forward to the possibilities of what I might discover and to the journey.

So, here it goes...  I thought maybe rather than telling everything about me in one post, it might make more sense to show you a little window into my world.  That maybe that would give you a better idea of who I am.  So here's a little window into my world today:

blessings and happiness...