Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Who's "It"?

SOLD to a California Collector
6 X 8 Oil on gessoed masonite $115

Includes shipping and insurance
This cold weather we have had lately makes the horses playful - especially while they are waiting for me to come feed them.
Georgia, the border-collie-wanna-be, has a morning routine that is fairly predictable. I get up first around 6:00 and go straight to the studio, Georgia on my heels. I immediately let her out, make coffee, start a fire, turn on the computer, and let the dog back in. Same routine, every morning (unless it's too warm for fire and I skip that step.) It's still dark out, so Georgia comes back in quickly and settles down in an arm chair in the studio and waits for Mike to get up. I then make breakfast for us and feed the dog. About 9:00 Georgia needs to go make her rounds and check on the horses. If I'm smart, I'll go out then, too and take my camera in anticipation of frisky animals. Of course my favorite subjects are Georgia and Dandy - they have their game of tag all worked out. Dandy knows that the teeth are only for show and Georgia knows how to avoid a well placed hoof (she's good at staying close to a fence line where she can duck under if the horse gets too close!)
I have heard of single horses becoming attached to dogs - they are both herd (or pack) animals and need the comfort that comes from associating with their own kind. I have heard of race horses that had goats for stable mates, too. Comfort comes in many forms, doesn't it?
Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Impatient Dandy

I've gotten into the habit of taking my camera with me when I feed the horses in the morning. Not only is the light good, but I never know what I might get to shoot.
Feeding is a training opportunity. I get to re-access my dominance over the horses - a necessary role when the next training stage begins. Here I was sitting on the bucket of feed and not letting anyone near. Dandy was confused. PJ, off in the distance, understands that she eats when I say she eats. Most of the time.
In a horse herd, it is necessary for me to be a leader - not a equal friend - a leader. Horses are not like dogs, seeking companionship. Horses are not predator animals; they are the prey and are always on the alert and seeking a leader to protect them. Many people make this mistake when they acquire a horse and think they are getting a big dog. I did it, too, with the first horses I owned.
Being the boss doesn't mean you negate a good relationship - in fact with horses, it improves it, because most of the time, that's what they want. Someone who knows what is best, will look out for them and be on the alert for them. Kinda like my relationship with God. Looking out for me.
Today was "town" day and Mike and I had 11 stops to make. Tomorrow I help a neighbor palpate cows - more on this (and possibly some really icky photos) later!
Colossians 4:
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Gate's Always Open

9 X 12 Oil on stretched canvas
Contact me for availability
Boy, this painting just screamed symbolism all day to me as I worked on it.
I have used this background several times (or one like it). The actual image is from a neighbor's gate down the road from me. I say "neighbor" even though they are at least 3 miles from me, but here in the country, anyone within 15 miles of my gate is considered a neighbor, and in all honesty, I'll bet I can name 25% of the people within 10 miles of me. No one in the city can do that. Heck, many can't even name their next-door-neighbors. I know mine quite well. We depend upon one another. Ron and Phyllis (neighbors to the north) left for Decatur the other day and when a few miles from home, Ron remembered he hadn't turned off the water to his cows. He called us (thank goodness for cell phones) and Mike obligingly drove over to his house and cut off the water. When bad weather hits, I check on Pat (to the South) - she's alone and not visible from the road. We both share our despise for the gas companies that are currently disrupting our peace and quiet.
I digressed, didn't I? Back to the gate. This neighbor's gate is always open, partly due to the fact that it is off its hinges and there are no longer any cattle on the property. And partly because that is the way this neighbor is. Welcoming.
We have a big iron gate at the end of our drive and it is rarely closed. In fact the only time I close it is when an animal gets loose and I'm afraid of it getting out on the road before I can catch it (usually a cow). Or I deliberately let the horses loose to graze around the house - a rare event since they are non-discriminate eaters and the vegetable garden isn't fenced off from the yard.
Our gate is always open. Welcoming symbolism.
Isaiah 26:2
Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

World's Greatest Medicine

9 X 9 oil on Canvas Board $125
Includes Shipping and Insurance
I really need to improve my still life set up. The lighting is terrible and I have no backdrop. I enjoy doing still lifes, and I would do more if I had a better set up. For some reason I needed to do this one.
I found this pretty ironstone pitcher in Cuchara, Colorado 2 summers ago and bought it specifically to paint. The little bottle is an empty vanilla bottle, but it looks like an old medicine bottle. The cross is the special part of this set up. There's a man in our church named Wesley, and he is probably the most unpretious, uncomplicated and direct man I have ever known. Wesley is over 70 and still lives in the same small, neat farm house that he and Barbara have lived in for over 50 years. He is a man of many talents, his most recent being woodworking. He also knows a lot about farming and ranching and still builds and repairs fence, although Barbara gets on him for doing it in the 110 degree Texas summer heat - especially since his bypass surgery.
Wesley makes all kinds of wooden things, but my most favorite are his crosses, and he always has a supply of them in his truck to pass out to first time visitors to our church. They are made of native mesquite and if you offered to pay him for one, you would greatly offend him. He gave me mine nearly 10 years ago when I first attended the Morgan Mill United Methodist Church and I have treasured it ever since. My cross has a story, too. Soon after I received it, I noticed an odd little ticking noise coming from it periodically. It was almost as if the cross was speaking to me! I came to discover that my cross had a wood worm in it, and it eventually ate its way out. Hopefully he is not now in my piano or another beloved piece of furniture! The hole in its side makes MY cross special and easily identified!
God Bless ya'll on this Christmas Eve. I'll be back soon, I hope.
Isaiah 51:8
For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Free to Run

8 X 10 Oil on canvas board $115
Includes shipping and insurance to U.S.
The next few paintings are going to be experiments in color. My palette holds only 3 for this painting: Phthalo blue, Cad orange med and Burnt Umber (and white). Phthalo is a brilliant, turquisey blue and I was reminded of it by a fellow painter, Rick Nilson (go check out his website HERE - I think he's gone nuts and is giving away paintings!!!!) Anyway, phthalo is a great blue for ocean water, but I'm going to use it for a while in Texas!
We are journeying to son, Ben's house for Christmas. Ben is a bachelor and is a man of simple needs and pleasures. His home in Euless is centrally (kinda) located to family in Denton, Morgan Mill, Dallas and Weatherford, so he got elected to host this year. Ben doesn't cook, so my Mom and I will be doing kitchen duties. And since Ben has minimum kitchen stuff, we will be bringing everything. My mom frets over the menu, but I am just happy to be with whoever shows up, and whatever we eat is secondary.
I do wish all you readers out there have a blessed Christmas - hug your loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you. And if you get the opportunity to lift up someone who may need help, don't hesitate. You'll make the Father smile, and who knows, you might even be entertaining an angel!
Hebrews 13:2
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
(Angels are mentioned in the Bible nearly 300 times!!!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Last Auction - thank goodness

All paintings that remain unsold have been re-posted this evening at half price. The listings will last 3 days (through the end of the day Christmas Eve). After the holidays are over, I will be posting some paintings to sell through my blog, the Daily Painter's Website and my own Website and some paintings through galleries only (those will be noted).
I have my doubts as to whether or not I will post on eBay again any time soon, so this may be your last chance to get a real bargain! I will combine multiple purchases to reduce shipping (usually you can add $1 for each additional painting).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Opportunists 2

11 X 14 Oil on Canvas Board
Check with me for availability

I enlarged my original little painting of these two to include more background. I still need to add a few tiny details AND take a better, daylight picture. But it's basically the same as the first - two Indian brothers wearing different military uniforms - one from the North and one from the South. The title "Opportunists" infers a number of meanings, the least of which is wearing a jacket for its warmth - regardless of its color. They also have rifles - much better for hunting than bows and arrows. What better opportunities did THAT afford them? Another thought: Native Americans did not enjoy the benefit of horses until after the Spanish explored North America. What opportunities were derived from THAT tool?
I have always been intrigued by the imagery of "Opportunity Knocks". So many times we don't answer (or aren't prepared to) and in many cases we don't even recognize him! And sometimes, maybe we shouldn't answer. Prayer sometimes solves this dilemma.
A note to two new friends: Two new collectors came to visit me today. Jan, who lives in Weatherford and Sally who lives in Mineral Wells, both were convinced to come see me to pick up their purchases today. Oddly we are all 3 the same age and are art and animal lovers, too. I loved meeting ya'll and hope you stay in contact. It's nice to be able to put a face to those who compliment me so richly!
1 Samuel 18:20-22 (in Context) 1 Samuel 18 (Whole Chapter) Jeremiah 46:17
There they will exclaim, 'Pharaoh king of Egypt is only a loud noise; he has missed his opportunity.'

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Turn

5 X 7 Oil on Gessoed Masonite $115
Includes shipping and insurance in U.S.
I told ya'll that I attended a sorting this past weekend, and a variety of riders participated. When I first saw this cowboy, I thought I recognized his horse. Typically I recognize the animals before I recognize the people with them. I did the same at the business we owned for 11 years - an oil change shop. I knew people by the cars they drove; "Oh, you're the 2001 Diesel Ford Expedition with the chrome grill guard, dent on the driver's side from the deer". You get it.
Anyway, I thought I knew this horse, but I was wrong. So I then focused on the guy riding him and saw that he was doing a pretty good job exposing his mount to the cows and getting him to sort them. They need more work, but I do think they had fun. The rider was generous to his partners and the horse was cooperative. What more could you ask for?
Proverbs 11:25
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
There are 5 comments in Proverbs about generosity. hmmmmm

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Playing Tag

5 X 7 Oil on Canvas Board $115
SOLD to a Pennsylvania collector
The horses are in the front "big" pasture now, where I can see them through the picture window in my studio. Yesterday afternoon I saw them flash by - all three - running like the devil was on their tails. I grabbed my camera (which is USUALLY always ready to go at a moment's notice) and I flew out the door with Georgia on my heels. An army helicopter was passing low overhead (there's a number of Army and Guard bases in Texas and we see their air support vehicles overhead regularly). They were using it as an excuse to act silly. I have seen them hardly raise their heads when helicopters fly overhead, but today they decided it was a scary monster and acted accordingly.
I got pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Like I really need more! And Georgia got to start a game of tag with Easy. Boy oh boy, a dog's life is great! And my horses' are even better!
Today, dear readers, please say a little prayer for Thomas, my goofy brother-in-law. He's having a diagnostic medical procedure today to find a blood clot. Please keep Thomas in your prayers - he has to stay healthy to watch over my mother and father-in-law!!! :-)
Isaiah 27:1
[ Deliverance of Israel ] In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cattle Sorting

I spent Sunday afternoon at a sorting. For those of you not literate in horse lingo, that's a cattle working competition that is probably one of the best ways to have fun on a horse. I didn't go to participate, though. I went for photographs. And I got a bunch, including the one above that will probably become a painting.
I used to compete in sortings on PJ's dam before her seizures became too frequent and made her unsafe to ride. PJ can work cattle, when she wants to, but no where near as good as her momma, so for now I remain content just watching. But I have to admit that my legs were itching to climb on a horse....
The rules of sorting are as follows: Ten numbered calves, plus one un-numbered dummy calf are wandering around a small round pen which is connected to another round pen via a small opening. Two riders must "sort" the cattle in numerical order from one pen to another - in order and without letting any calves "leak" back. And do it in a prescribed amount of time - usually 30 to 90 seconds. If a calf goes through out of order or one comes back to join its herdmates, the run is over and does not count. The team with the most calves moved with no penalties in the time allotted wins. Every team pays to compete, and part of the money goes to the cattle supplier and part goes out in winnings. And a good time is had by all!
All skill level of horsemanship can have fun doing this - young and old alike. All you need is a horse that reins fairly well and isn't afraid of cows.
Don't forget to check on my paintings up for grabs on eBay! I am really cleaning house!
2 Timothy 2:5
Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winter Coat

SOLD to a California Collector
5 X 7 Oil on Canvas Board $115

Shipping and Insurance included within U.S.
While I was painting on a large canvas today, Georgia hopped up into a chair to look out the picture window into the front pasture. We have moved the horses to the "North Pasture" for the winter. It's easier to feed them there, and they have the barn for shelter. Ron has moved his cows off, so now I watch horses instead of Longhorns out the studio window. And so does Georgia. And if one comes close to the house or barn, she thinks it's necessary to go out and check on them. Georgia saw PJ coming up to drink and wanted out to go check on her.
I obliged and let her out, and she immediately proceeded to try and start a game of tag with her. Dandy was behind her mom half way to the barn and immediately started running, thinking it was feeding time, I guess. I grabbed my camera and snapped a quick action shot. She is very fuzzy and shows no highlights when the sun shines on her. All her dense velvety fur absorbs sunlight (and heat, too, I guess) and reflects very little light. She must be very warm on sunny winter days. Her winter coat is nature's furnace....
Earlier today friends Pat and Ken stopped by to announce a milestone in their Financial Peace University class - they paid off their truck EARLY and are snowballing their horse trailer now. They are following the class instructions as well, if not better, than everyone, and I am so proud of them! Keep it up, Gazelles! They will be debt free in no time...
DON'T FORGET: Go HERE to bid on current paintings on eBay!
Psalm 12:6
And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Like Mother Not Like Daughter?

9 X 13 Oil on flat canvas $125
Check with me for availability

Little Dandy started out life the same color as her momma - bright sorrel. But as Spring and Summer passed, she morphed into the color of her grand-dam, Miss Jack, who was registered as brown, but turned a gorgeous black in winter. Children do that too - start out like one parent or another and suddenly they become like a grandparent, too. My mom has a creative, mathematical mind, and we share many traits. My daddy had a goofy sense of humor and a salesman's gift of gab. But my artistic genes come from my mom's mother, my grandmother who I called "Itee". It was Itee that first put a paintbrush in my hand and taught me how to draw and compose and manipulate oil paint. She was a teacher with an artist's soul who didn't actually start painting until she was middle aged. She's been gone for more than 20 years now, but I still have some of her old art supplies - including her student easels and her paint box. I like to think she watches me as I paint and smiles. Thanks, Itee, for the genes!
Proverbs 19:8
He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.

Monday, December 1, 2008


SOLD to a collector in Montana
8 X 6 Oil on gessoed Masonite $115

Includes shipping and insurance in U.S.
The titles to my paintings come at various stages during their construction. My normal painting routine is to have a specific image in my head and then I search to find the proper background, rearranging the focus, changing the position of the sun, etc. if needed. Often while I am searching my archives of photos and sketches, a title comes to mind. Most often it comes to me while in the middle of the painting. This one did not occur to me until I was cropping the photo and making it ready for the blog. I rarely fret over a title - they always come. Like my Bible verses at the end - I know God will provide a verse, like He provides me with everything else I need. This one was almost tricky, though.
"Opportunists". Do you see what the young men are wearing? Civil War coats from different sides. They don't care what the color is or what they represent. They are simply warm and protective without attached labels of beliefs. The opportunity that afforded their acquiring them is not known, but we may presume that they receive greater benefit from them than the soldiers who originally wore them....maybe.

Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV) "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."