Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ready to Paint, but not quite finished

The floor is sealed and I have moved the three essentials into the studio: my easel, taboret and drafting table. I will paint today. I am still lacking doors, trim, shelving, cabinetry and plumbing, BUT I CAN PAINT!!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Playing Tag

I got my exercise tonight - playing tag with Dandy. Yes, that's her name, Mom - Dandy! I worked all day setting up the studio and moving stuff and throwing out stuff. Then I played. Baby horses are good for the soul and the body...just so long as you avoid the hooves.

Monday, April 28, 2008


I worked all day sealing the studio floor today and I took a break to play with the foal. I never walk out to her without my camera and here are a couple new photos. She's 3 weeks old tomorrow and is filling out wonderfully.
I hope to be painting again in a week.....hope hope hope. Tomorrow I move some furniture in - easel first!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Living in Tornado Alley

Last night was a hairy one - weather wise. Those of us who have lived in this part of Texas for any length of time, expect April and May thunderstorms to bring excitement periodically. Late yesterday afternoon, we had a good one. Luckily for us, the worst of it passed to our north, and no one was hurt. The funniest part of the storm situation is that since we aren't on satellite or cable TV and use just an antennae tower, we always have TV during storms, where all our neighbors usually lose their feed. Consequently our phone rings with questions like the following from my California transplant friend, Tessa, "Hi, my TV is out - where's the storm now? Is it about over???? I saw TWO FUNNELS!!! What's the radar show? Oh my - all the foals are up. They're OK. Are you OK? I SAW TWO FUNNELS!!!! ....." All this said in the space of 3 seconds. Tessa is building a fabulous house and barns, and this is her first full Texas Spring. I don't know if her builder convinced her to install a "safe room" in her house, but I bet she'd considering it now!
Studio update: Slate floor is installed. AC will be hooked up and running today so we can dry it enough to seal it. Then I can start moving furniture in. We still have cabinets, counters, wood stove and bathroom fixtures to install. Oh, and most of the trim. There is still only tar paper on the roof, too, and it leaked last night, but I think the metal roof will be put on today - at least on the studio part. We are re-roofing the whole house in metal, too, but that won't start for another week.
Foal update: She is still growing and filling out beautifully. We had our first halter session Tuesday - she was 2 weeks old. Garrett helped me catch her. It didn't take her long to learn to give to the pressure and she allowed me to pick up all 4 feet.

I probably won't be able to paint for another week - too much to do in the studio. In addition, I will be spending this entire weekend renewing my real estate license in Ft. Worth. Hopefully I will resume a "normal" painting schedule soon....
Proverbs 10:25
When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tag Through the Bluebonnets

6 X 8 Oil on Masonite $125
includes shipping and insurance
SOLD to a collector in South Pasadena, California
The bluebonnets are pretty sparse this year, and I'm having a hard time finding some to photograph. We have a few in our yard and pasture, but not near as many as in past springs. Last year I had a tiny stand of red ones that I started from seed that I bought at Wildseed Farms near Fredericksburg. They didn't come back this year, so I fear that I will have to plant them yearly if I want to see that variation. Their genetics may pop up in the future though - it will be interesting to see.
Yesterday when we let the foal loose, she and Georgia worked some more on their tag playing rules. Momma didn't have to interfere this time, so I suspect they have about come to a final agreement.
I know I promised landscapes this week, but I just had to do this one first. She will be grown all too soon, but right now I am still enamored with her and all her gyrations...I make no apologies! The landscapes will come later....
Deuteronomy 26:18
And the LORD has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Angel Baby Knows How to Run

Merideth and Garret came over for lunch today after church. I asked Merideth to help record the foal running on video and she was more than happy to run the camera. She is 12 days old and filling out beautifully. Her legs are straight and her feet square. She’s already developing a nice forearm and gaskin, and she cuts and turns and stops like she’s already been in reining training. I’m afraid I will need to find a serious trainer for her when the time comes – I’d better sell a BUNCH of paintings!!!!

While we were walking around in the pasture, she stood too long in a hidden ant bed and real quickly got ants on all four legs. After stomping them off herself, she allowed me to rub her legs to scratch them. That surprised us both I think!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

From the Top of Capulin

6 X 8 Oil on Masonite $110
Includes shipping and insurance SOLD
On our trips to Colorado and beyond, we usually make our first overnight stop near Capulin Volcano National Monument in New Mexico. After passing through there dozens of times and always saying, "One time we need to climb the volcano", we finally did last summer.
This extinct volcano is relatively young, geologically speaking. It's eruption ended 10,000 years ago, and it's pretty neat to hike up it and go down in the crater. It rises about 1000 feet above the New Mexico plains and from its top, you can see the old lava flows. The view is spectacular!
I was reviewing some photographs from last summer, planning next week's line up of paintings, and I think it's time to do some landscapes. As much as I love the horses, I have had some requests for Texas Big Bend paintings - and cacti (yes, Bud, I mean YOU!) Looks like it's time for another road trip - Big Bend should be in full bloom about now....
Isaiah 35:2
it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God

Friday, April 18, 2008

Get a Horse 5

6 X 8 Oil on Masonite board $135
includes shipping and insurance
SOLD to a Texas Collector
I finished this painting last night while storms and tornadoes threatened our wide Texas skies. Georgia, the Border-Collie-Wanna-Be, stayed glued to either my leg or Mike's. Since Kibble died, she seems to have lost a bit of her bravery. When storms came through before, Kibble would ignore their threat and continue whatever she was doing (usually sleeping), and somehow Georgia must have been comforted by her inattention to supposed imminent danger. Now she must evaluate danger on her own, and she just doesn't have those skills....
Back to the painting.
The "Get a Horse" series of old vehicles continues to be popular - both with my collectors and me. I enjoy finding and painting ancient modes of transportation, and living in the country provides me with endless sources of inspiration. Why, within a 3 mile radius I know of at least 5 vehicles that I have yet to photograph, yet are definitely worthy. I must make a note to live a lot longer than the actuarial tables predict...
Genesis 49:26
Your father's blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Greener Grass

6 X 8 Oil on Masonite $100
includes shipping and insurance
SOLD to a collector in South Pasadena, California
I am compelled to keep PJ and her baby in a round pen right now because the fence around the house is down due to construction. Easy is in a smaller pasture that has a creek running through it (and coyotes follow that creek). Not only am I NOT ready for them to face coyotes, but neither am I ready for PJ and Easy to work out the pecking order again with the baby in the mix. PJ is the boss of Easy, but his curiosity will compel him to check out her young 'un.
So for now the two must stay in the round pen surrounded by lush spring grass. I do go and put a halter on PJ every evening and let her graze on a lead line for a half an hour - and let the baby tear around and test her legs. But when I put her back up, you can see the longing in her eyes to be allowed to permanently stay on the green grass.
Matthew 6:30
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Safety in Momma's Shadow

6 X 8 Oil on Masonite $100 includes shipping and insurance
SOLD to a collector in South Pasadena, California
I simply cannot resist painting these two, so ya'll will just have to forgive me for a while as I get them out of my system.
When I went out to feed them this afternoon, Georgia, the Border-Collie-Wanna-Be, followed me, as is her custom , and attempted to get the foal to play. She is still a little tentative but after a few tight runs around her momma, she took off in a huge, bucking leap - unfortunately, neither Georgia or the foal were properly prepared and Georgia was run over in a tangle of gangly legs. The dog yelped as if hit by a truck, but no actual damage was done. She will, however, now be more cautious, I suspect, in her games of tag with animals bigger than herself - and this is a good thing. She plays tag with Easy, the racehorse that doesn't want to run, but they both seem to know that a one thousand pound horse needs to be careful where he places his feet, and no one ever gets hurt - although I wave witnessed some close calls.
Psalm 40:2
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What a Cute Ass

9 X 12 Oil on Stretched canvas $145 includes shipping and insurance
SOLD to a collector in Irvine, California
OK, I may be old but I'm not dead. I spotted this character recently in Blanco - readying his mule after a parade celebrating Blanco's Sequicentenniel. The mule caught my attention first, but the rider was kinda cute, too! Janet Vance has PROMISED me that I will ride a mule next time I visit her...I'm not letting her forget it.
Hebrews 13:2
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hurry Up!

5 1/4 X 8 Oil on Masonite board $100
includes shipping and insurance
SOLD to a collector in Bartlesville, Oklahoma
I think I am coming out of the fog of acute bronchitis and lack of sleep. I finally gave in and went to the doctor Friday for some sympathy and antibiotics. They are working. Today I picked up a paint brush for the first time in 10 days. And of course I had to paint the baby.
I have been in touch with the sire's (Banjo's) owner, Janet, for the past 2 weeks - and even more so since the foal was born - pictures, pictures, pictures! And relating her progress - both physical-wise and personality-wise. Janet assures me that all of Banjo's babies not only are shaped beautifully but also behave in a friendly, curious manner. She has also related to me all the horsey competitions that she has entered Banjo. He excels everywhere - roping, western pleasure, trail, cow horse, reining, and even eventing! He jumps! My expectations are rising.....
Psalm 5:3
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Studio Tour

Here is a quick tour of the studio this morning. The sun comes in the upper windows for about 2 hours in the morning and I haven't yet decided if I want to paint then or wait until it moves. The rest of the day has all indirect light. Plus I have a hang-down track light set-up that my good friend, John, designed. It will have directional lights on it.

The floor is half completed and looks sensational - when it is grouted and sealed, I can start moving stuff in and finally have guest bedrooms again. The bathroom has no fixtures yet, but I am contemplating a pedestal sink, since there is a large closet for storage.

Stay tuned. We are into details now!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Day 3 with Baby

These are 4 of the "girls" in my life - The one on the right is daughter, Merideth and you already know Georgia, PJ and her baby.
Still can't work in studio, but the slate floor is being laid right now. Things are looking good.
Merideth and I journey to Dallas tomorrow to co-host a Bridal shower for my adorable cousin, Heather who is marrying the even more adorable David. Heather, if you are reading this, the baby is REALLY soft and friendly and will get a halter on her next week! I promise lots of pictures!
And I will return to painting next week...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Baby Pictures

After a scarey stormy night here in north central Texas, the day dawned beautiful and was perfect for PJ and her baby's first trip outside the barn. Baby is about 38 hours old here and was going nuts in the stall, trying to figure out her legs. A few minutes in the grass and sunshine was all it took before she was bouncing around and running like a pro.
PJ wasted no time finding a dry spot to roll in either. As baby looked on, PJ rolled back and forth upside down getting a grand massage from the ground. It's not the most flattering position for a mare to get into, and I'm sure it puzzled her baby, too, but you could tell it sure felt good.

My vet came by yesterday afternoon to give the pair a once-over and he declared them both doing very well.
PJ was born here 12 years ago and I already notice several similar personality and physical traits shared by mother and daughter. PJ has two siblings that I also raised and all three of them are totally different, though they share the same sire. I kept the best tempered (and best riding) horse of the three, so naturally I'm delighted that daughter seems to be like mother.
My studio is a mess right now - yesterday they cut the opening to join old studio to new studio and it's impossible to work, so I guess I'll content myself with gardening for a while (and baby watching).

Hopefully I'll be able to paint again within a week - and I already know what my first subject will be!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

IT's A GIRL!!!

The waiting is over - PJ's filly was born this morning at approximately 1:55 am - I found them at 2:05. Just missed the birth, but was able to be there and assist with the first meal.
PJ is 12 years old and although she is a sweet mare, I must admit that I was a bit worried about her attitude. My worries were groundless. She stood quietly while Mike held her head and I directed the baby in the right direction. A shot of oxytocin got the milk flowing and nature did the rest. Not once did PJ kick or act upset.
The little filly is a bay paint with four long stockings and a blaze on her right withers. I suspect she'll be pretty flashy looking with those legs. My friend Tessa, laughs and kids me by saying, "You dessicated that good Quarter Horse mare by breeding her to a PAINT!" I say a good horse, is a good horse, no matter the breed, and this baby's sire is exceptional in every category, and he just happens to be a paint. Tessa wants to lease PJ next year and put a palomino Quarter Horse in her. I might let her if SHE sits up all night on foal watch!
I left both of them laying down - PJ is probably delivering the placenta about now - I'll go back in about 30 minutes and check - and maybe give another shot of oxytocin. Mike's already back in bed, but I don't think I can sleep now!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Joined at the Hip

6 X 8 Oil on Masonite Board $125
includes shipping and insurance
SOLD to a collector in South Pasadena, California

I found this goosey pair at a farm down the road from us where Mike and I went to practice shooting hand guns. Yes, we live in Texas and no, not all Texans carry firearms on their hips. But Mike and I did take a course in fire arm safety and hand gun laws. We intend to get our licenses to carry a concealed hand gun, although in Texas you can already tote a gun in your car, so long as it’s concealed. I probably will never carry a gun on my person or in my purse, but I like knowing that I can if I want to - legally, and I also like being familiar with guns as opposed to being afraid of them (which is what usually happens with things you are unfamiliar with).

Back to the geese…they mate for life, you know. They may not always look like they are getting along every minute they are together – BUT they stay together nevertheless. I kinda like that concept. The through thick and thin modality.

These two were wandering around the place where the targets were set up for us to take our shooting test (I did REALLY well, by the way!) The wary male goose led the way for the very feminine hen goose. She was dependent on him to take care of her and ward off this very unfamiliar photographer. That’s OK in the goose world, but I kinda prefer being able to take care of myself – or at least thinking I can! But I still like the commitment thing, too.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-13 11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Going Shopping

8 X 6 Oil on Masonite $125 includes shipping and insurance
SOLD to a collector in The Woodlands, Texas
I'm getting in the mood for our Wyoming Mountain Man Rendezvous trip. We discovered Pine Dale on the Green River accidentally last year. We stopped there to visit the Mountain Man Museum (which was fantastic, by the way) and found out that every 2nd weekend of July, a re-enactment of a rendezvous has been held since 1936. To quote Pine Dale's website:

What's a Rendezvous?
The first Green River Rendezvous in our area was held in 1833 near where the town of Daniel stands today. During the fur trade era of the 1820s-1840s, six of these summer gatherings were held near this locale. The cry "Meet me on the Green!" was a reminder and a reassurance to trappers, who spent isolated winters gathering beaver pelts, and to traders, who traveled many miles on hazardous trails. Mountain men, explorers and Indians all gathered "below the Green" to barter, sell, and swap items such as skins, pelts, guns, trinkets and necessary provisions for the coming winter. The Rendezvous lasted anywhere from a few days to several months and was a time for trappers to cash in hard-earned furs, renew acquaintances with old friends, tell tall tales, and celebrate another year of survival with plenty of rowdy fun.

This painting is from a photo taken by another artist friend at a historical re-enactment. I'm hoping to come home with many more like these, as well as photos of campsites, mountain men, cavalry and other historical figures.
Psalm 43:3
Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.


Foal update - Weather turned cool, crisp and clear yesterday - light frost this morning. I was SURE I would find a foal...nothing!!!

Studio update - the ceiling is a work of art! Three 12' rows of track lights are in, and my brilliant electrician/friend, John, hooked up the power yesterday. The front closet and bathroom doors are hung. I have completed texturing and most of the painting. Today the tiling in the bathroom begins. Builder Carl and his helper Micah are constructing cabinets and shelves from the left-over ceiling wood. I am continually amazed at their expertise and craftsmanship. Not too many people take as much pride in their work as these two. Micah, by the way, is the man that is supplying me with the pretty red-cedar frames for my 6 X 8's. Like he doesn't do enough working on the studio all day....

Friday, April 4, 2008

Morning Skies

6 X 8 Oil on Masonite Board $100
includes shipping and insurance
SOLD to a collector in Memphis, Tennessee
We had all kinds of weather yesterday with the morning skies starting out beautifully threatening, yet non-productive. This is what they looked like from my front porch around 7:45 am. This time of year in Texas is always exciting weather-wise. Cold fronts from Canada mix it up with warm fronts from the Gulf keeping the news channels hopping with tornado warnings and watches. We are actually just a bit south of where all the excitement regularly happens - Wichita Falls - tornado alley. We get our share of funnel sightings, but those folks get the real McCoys.
I thought yesterday we'd have a good chance for showers so we finished up planting the vegetable garden - sweet corn, green beans, black-eyed peas (cow peas for you northerners!), tomatoes, peppers (both bell and jalapeƱo), cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, yellow squash, zuchini and potatoes (those were put in a month ago and are already up and growing). In addition I have my favorite herbs: celeriac, parsley, cilantro, and basil. Oh, and I almost forgot the garlic and onions.
Do you know what the Southern Trinity of cooking is? Onion, bell pepper and celery. Put those three flavors in everything and you will be loved as a cook! Currently I have been using Rosemary in just about everything. I have 2 Rosemary bushes that require next-to-no care and always smell wonderfully fragrant just brushing past them. If you want my Rosemary sweet potato recipe, e-mail me. Easy, flavorful and heart healthy!
Mark 2:17
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Rainstorm Rescue

For those of you on "Baby Watch" with me, I have nothing new to report - at least baby-wise. We did however, have an exciting night last night. At my regular 3:00 am check, I awoke to find a driving rainstorm. I left the "baby gear" (see earlier post) and grabbed an umbrella and halter instead. With the flashlight and umbrella in one hand and the halter in another, rain pouring, wind swirling and lighting flashing, I approached PJ. You might have thought I was an apparition - she, of course, wouldn't let me get close to her, much less slip her head into her halter! So I abandoned the umbrella and flashlight and using the lighting for illumination, convinced her that the barn would be a better place to spend the night. Twenty minutes later as I am returning to the house via the garage, Mike comes out the door with his jacket on and asks, "Do you need help?" I just laughed as I went in to find some warm dry clothes. I appreciated the offer, but the horse is mine along with all the drama and inconvenience. He does pay her bills, though!!! :-)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Because He's Hard to Catch

6 X 8 Oil on Masonite board $125
includes shipping and insurance
SOLD to a Texas Collector
My friends Bernie and Jenny raise some really nice Quarter Horses, and they are generous to let me photograph them whenever I want. These boys are part of year-before-last's colt crop. All the babies that year were colts, and I think they had mostly fillies last year. Nature seems to have a way of evening things out eventually. By the way, the title explains why one of them has on a halter....
My friend, Tessa, raises Arabians and this year her mares have had all colts and she really wants fillies. I want a colt, myself (no baby yet, by the way!), because I have no more plans to breed and I want a good riding horse - and I do believe most of the time, geldings are better than mares - fewer "issues"!
1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Riding the Fence

5 X 7 Oil on Masonite $125
Includes shipping and insurance
SOLD to a collector in Stephenville, Texas
I'm taking a slight side-road with this painting. I painted the background several days ago with paint left over on my palette. I HATE to waste paint, so I covered several pre-primed boards with the left overs. Every one is different.
I then flipped through an assortment of photographs I have saved as potential paintings and picked one that I thought would do well on this particular background. The actual model for this photo was a girl, but I turned her into a him - don't know why, I just did. Is it more believable? Find me a shrink, and maybe we'll figure it out together...
I have several panels like this ready for painting, and I intend to use them all for this week's offering. I hope you enjoy....
Psalm 112:10
The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

No Baby Yet

Question of the day: How long can a fat horse NOT have her baby? My nighttime routine is getting old. Alarm goes off (or, if Mike is lucky, I wake up 2 minutes before and turn it off), I roll out of bed, find shoes and glasses and tip toe to the kitchen where I load up my “birthing gear”. This consists of a flashlight, my phone, pocket camera and a towel (to grip slippery forelegs while pulling and then to wipe off nostrils for easier breathing). Phone has vet’s number in it – actually two different vets – second is a backup.

I silently slip out the back door and walk the 50 yards to the paddock. Except for the vapor light illuminating the south pasture and the gas rigs on the horizon, it’s very dark and the stars above are brilliant. I pass the stand of oaks and hackberries. They throw long shadows across the drive helping me to avoid the rocks and ruts in the path. I am still half asleep - somewhere in that world that moms can go when they get up in the middle of the night to feed a newborn and then return to slumber almost immediately when the job is completed. PJ knows I’m coming and lets out a little nicker. I can’t see her yet, but the sound is reassuring – has she had her baby???

Finally my weak flashlight (I’ve been doing this for 3 nights now) finds her alone and with that expectant look on her face – “Where’s my breakfast?”

“Good night PJ, I’ll see you again at daybreak…”

I take a quick picture and return to the house where my bed is still warm and Mike is sound asleep. Maybe tomorrow we’ll have a baby.

1 Thessalonians 5:10
He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.