Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A friend up-date!

GREAT NEWS tonight!
Brenda P. is doing great.  Cancer was small and the lymph nodes are clean!!!!  Radiation treatments begin after Christmas.  She is awake and chipper as always!   Go Brenda!!   Celebrate life!!
Get well and let's go paint boats!!      donna

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Special request tonight:
A very special painting buddy of many of us who have gathered on the Gulf Coast each year to paint, needs our prayers.  Brenda P. is having surgery tomorrow in Atlanta.  Her spirit is high and you all know her strength!  I told her we would all be behind her tomorrow with prayer support. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

The whimsical "little trees with Christmas dresses"  were beautiful tonight on their beds of "snow."  We added little candles and a few extra snowflakes.  Each one will now go to a special home for the holidays.    Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The season of Christmas is here and today my studio "Maison d'Arbor" was filled with dancing trees dressed for the Cullman Art Guild Christmas party. 
I snapped a photo of one and sent it to a couple of people for some immediate feedback.   My daughter quickly texted back..."Looks like twigs in dresses"   Bingo!  Yes they did so I began  to add snowflakes ribbons and little gifts on their log stands. 
As I worked, the words and music began to play in my head.  "Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes,  Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes. Silver white winters that melt into springs. These are a few of my favorite things...      Merry Christmas from Crane Hill!!!

Christmas comes to the forest.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cooking With Magnolias III... is here!

Cooking With Magnolias III is now here.  he 533 pages are all wonderful.  The cards, letters and e-mails from collectors are terrific!  Comments range from "inspiring" to "totally entertaining." 
Everyone says they are delighted with the $24. price for such a work and so many have ordered multiples for gift giving.
We even had one man who said he loves to read cookbooks!
Be sure to see the last short story that begins on page 495.  Halfway thru writing the book a question from my childhood was answered and the story is delightful and very surprising....
Order your books and I will be glad to autograph each one for you, but please add your own inscription before you give them as gifts.  It is the little things that add that very special meaning to your gifts and the things you leave for your heirs.  The order page on my web site is a convenient and safe way to order.   I hope you enjoy every page, recipe, story, illustration and doodle!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This is a great opportunity for me to share with you how the emotions of life can effect your creative side of life. 
I count my blessing first, but we have to admit that sometimes life itself has to be tough.  It is just "part of the contract" we have with the wonderful adventure calling living.

For weeks, I have not painted much at all.  I made plans for a simple trip to explore the lower Florida coast for boat subjects.
 My first day out,  the landscapes were wonderfully natural along the coast below Cedar Key.

On a one lane road, I not only found a calm black water pond with palms, but also a great place to stand while painting.. in the shade of more palms.

 I decided my first painting would be small and simple: the rocks, the 2 palms and the nice colors of the "black water."  Everything else would be overly simplified or left out all together.

Before leaving on the trip I made sure I had all my materials in one neat canvas bag and they were just inside the back door of the car.  Bug spray, my phone and camera were also ready.  I had a stool but knew from experience that I might be too excited to sit down to paint.  Standing up is always good.  It keeps me moving and I am more aware of things around me.
I used my smallest covered palette and only a few brushes.

 The point of that day's work was more about getting back to my painting career and less about having a huge work, loads of paint and box of brushes.
If you will limit yourself in this way, the experience can be much more exciting and less work.

As soon as I had my drawing done a new calm came over the entire event and I found myself back with my old spirit and peace.  A photography student walked up from out of nowhere and spoke as he went on down a remote path in search of his next great image.  Later, a mini van with a young mom and 2 noisy kids parked near my location and I feared I would have to stop to entertain them and defend my equipment, but by never looking up, I think they got the message that this was not a public demonstration.  In getting the children rounded up from the marsh adventure she landed on her horn and birds flew away in all directions.  It took a few minutes to get my attention back to the little painting.
The day was hot, but my guardian angel was working overtime, clouds circled behind me and the rain fell over the Gulf with out coming ashore.  The breeze was wonderful and the bugs took cover among the grasses along the shore.  Peace again!

And so, my effort to get back to life after losing Dad a few weeks ago and being there to help Lewis in his fight against Lyme...or whatever they want to call it, was at long last an accomplishment. 

Pure worship and therapy on a dirt road somewhere near Cedar Key...
  another great day to celebrate life.

I will add more from this trip in a day or 2.  There were several surprise rewards as I found some old "friends" from decades earlier in my career.  Things I never even knew to hope for were waiting for me. 
Life is good when we get the courage to live it abundantly!  I hope to inspire you to make that next trip in your own life. It will keep you healthy and help you get through those dark times.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I mailed out newsletters to the friends I usually see in Fairhope, Alabama at the Spring Festival.  I decided to give it the title of "A New Leaf"  I didn't explain in the letter just what that meant, but this seems a good place to break the news that I have sold my little country gallery of 22 years.  A very nice couple who want a small place while they enjoy life in their motor home will soon call it theirs.

I always thought this day would be a very sad one, but as life has the upper hand I now see it as a blessing.  22 years of wonderful memories leading to a new day and certainly a new calling for me and my art and little books. 
I hope you will celebrate this day with Lewis and me.  What a blessing this little country house has been.  It served a wonderful purpose in our lives and my career.  The days of our 20 years of open houses filled it with lots of wonderful friends, fun and laughter. 

Make no doubt about it,we are NOT retiring!!  On the contrary.  It is time to get serious about this life on earth and reasons God gave Lewis and me the job we have.

It's show time folks! See you in Fairhope.  Celebrate life now!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spring is just around the corner and as things begin to bloom it can make you ditch all your inside jobs to get out to sketch and paint.  If you can't get out, try taking a few photos or bringing a small bouquet inside to do a simple sketch after supper.  It is amazing how much we learn from a little sketch. 
Later, when there is time we can return to the photos and sketches which will give us courage to do a small painting.
Keep it simple.  Make a promise and a date for your art and stick with it.  You will be so blessed.
Your health will improve.  Your spirit will lift and the world will see a new you!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Finding Artistic Courage

For everyone who hears that small voice 
                                                       that urges them to be creative!  

Every week I meet people who almost tear up when they tell you how much they want to learn to draw or paint.  They are usually adults who have given many years to raising a family, caring for others and now realize that the opportunity to feed their creative spirit has not be fed.

The drive to create needs to be greater than the fear of failure.  When you tell them how to get the right supplies to begin and then offer them a day of their choosing to go along with you to paint on location, they immediately begin to list all the ways their obligations are greater than their desires to learn to paint. 

If I had not had... and still do, the same emotional fear of failure, I might be disappointed in their response, but remembering all those over the years that have managed to get the courage to show up and give it a try!  The majority of these brave souls are now taller, happier and totally liberated because they gave their dream a place to happen.

I thought it would be fun to create a blog to support the courage factor for being an artist.  After three decades of being a serious artist... meaning that it is how I make a living, I feel I may be equipped to inspire others to follow their dream.

If you have always wanted to learn to paint, draw or find a medium to express a sincere creative desire, drop us a note. 
It takes tremendous courage to try your first painting.  I will share with you the story of my first "plein air" (on location) work of art and what I did to overcome my own fear of standing ALONE on location, in front of God and a park of tourists and fisherman to paint the view in front of me!  That was 20 years ago.  Wow.  I am so proud I took that chance. 

Let's go paint!!

To get started, always lay out your palette in the same arrangement.  This is mine and it has worked well for many years.  The blue strip on top-right?    That is a space for the palette knife.  Good habits make for less frustration.  The palette: by Masterson with a sealing blue top to save paint.