31 May 2011

More watercolor dreaming...

Well, acrylics might be in my dreams as well!
I spent some time at the library this morning browsing the shelves. I haven't done this in AGES. I came away with a couple of books for learning to paint with watercolors. I also brought home books with pictures of things to inspire my painting, such as crazyquilts, hooked rugs and folk art. Among my finds was a book called "Illuminating the Word: The Making of the Saint John's Bible". It shows the process by which this Bible was written and illuminated by hand. I can't wait to look through it more closely!
Another find was Mary Randoph Carter's "Garden Junk". A treasure trove of junk to peruse for painting subjects!
My fascination with crazy quilts never seems to be satiated since each one is so unique. They remind me of the "I Spy" books I used to enjoy with my kids. The longer you view a quilt the more interesting details you notice. Cindy Bricks' "Crazy Quilts" is full of beautiful quilts and crazy quilt history. Here are a few beautiful quilt blocks I found online:
This little crazy quilt star gives me some ideas for combining pastel watercolors with painted stitch work. I realize I have to be careful not to violate any copyright laws when using images, so I'm trying to just get ideas. If I should ever sell a painting to a greeting card company, for example, I don't want anyone tracking me down! lol!
These blocks show some of the pretty details that are so much fun to explore.
Hooked rugs have been a favorite of mine for a long time and would also offer good ideas for painting. I think acrylics might work better to capture these designs.

Gillian Tyler's illustrations have caught my eye lately. Aren't they beautiful?

She has a series of beautiful maps like this one. Aren't her paintings fun to look at?

While reading "Crazy Quilts" I came across one quilt that took the creator 40 years to finish. How awesome is that? It's not about arriving at a finished product; it's about the enjoyment of the journey. It's looking forward to a lifetime of creativity. That's what I'm looking forward to with painting. I'm not in any hurry to become expert. I'm going to enjoy the learning experience. It will probably be slow as I make time for it between other life events, but knowing that this creative outlet waits in the wings for those quiet moments is what makes it so much fun!

29 May 2011

A dream: illustrating children's books...

Every so often I get this dream out and dust it off. I don't really think I'll make a career of illustrating children's books, but I COULD see myself enjoying painting as a hobby and maybe even submitting a few paintings to a greeting card company. This video was a lot of fun to watch and made me feel like I could really DO this. YouTube is full of painting tutorials, so even if I don't become a great painter, I'll have fun learning!

This video was made by Alicia Padron. You may want to go to YouTube to watch it so you can see the whole picture.

25 May 2011

A squadron of swans...

I was outside planting some tomatoes on my deck this morning when I heard what I thought was a flock of geese flying over the house. It dawned on me that the honking had a different "timbre" than that of our local geese. As I backed up to get a better look a flock of about 15 swans came swooping over our rooftop! I'm glad to report that swans are making a comeback in our area. When we first moved here 20 years ago I didn't see any; now they are a much more common, but still amazing, sight!

My husband, Bob, wasn't so sure that swans flock together like this, but after some research found that they do during migration. I guess that's what these folks were up to. BTW, this is a stock photo I found online. Too bad my camera wasn't close by!

20 May 2011

Semper Fi

Click on photo to enlarge.

17 May 2011

Unto the Hills by Billy Graham

As a book reviewer for Thomas Nelson I recently received a copy of Unto the Hills-A Daily Devotional by Billy Graham. I selected this book to review because Billy Graham holds a special place in my heart. At the age of sixteen I asked the Lord into my life while watching a Billy Graham crusade on television. That was way back in 1973, and Billy has continued to faithfully preach the Word throughout his long life.
Devotionals can play an important part in our spiritual lives. With such busy schedules we often have little time for inspirational reading. Billy’s devotions are short enough to be read quickly with plenty of time left to close our eyes and meditate on the message, claiming it for the day ahead. A devotional such as this also brings us into contact with portions from a variety of books of the Bible, which we might not see for quite some time in the course of our Bible reading. While I’m working my way through the gospels Billy will bring to my memory a scripture from Isaiah, Jeremiah or the Psalms. This makes it a wonderful addition to my regular Bible reading.
While reading this morning I was reminded that although Satan had obtained permission to sift Peter like wheat, Jesus had prayed for Peter so that his faith would not fail, and had admonished him to strengthen his brothers when he turned back again. How often we feel we’re being sifted. I was reminded that Jesus is praying for me during these times and fully expects me to prevail and return to Him! Unto the Hills by Billy Graham is full of spiritual treasures to help us in our daily walk.

16 May 2011

Road trip!

Hubby Bob and I hit the road for ten days and just arrived back home on Saturday afternoon. This is the first vacation (unpaid, of course) we've taken since the kids were small and Bob's first time to visit my hometown of Angleton, Texas.

I won't bore you with all of the details; just some of the high points! :D

The purpose of this trip was to visit my folks in Angleton, but since several of our kids live along the path, as well as a brother, we did a lot of visiting enroute. First of all, my brother James, and his family live in Kansas City, MO. He and his family are active participants at the International House of Prayer there and he works as a bookkeeper. We haven't seen each other for about 27 years!! Needless to say we had a fantastic time catching up on old and new times. There was a lot of chatter and laughter and it was wonderful to renew old ties.

Our daughter, Tammy and our granddaughters Esther and Victoria live in Haskell, OK. It's been many years since I've seen them, though Bob saw them a couple of years ago. We ate breakfast at IHOP (the "other" IHOP)and had a great time.

My two sons, Jordan and Josh, along with Josh's wife Jess and baby Nathan, live in Joshua, TX. We enjoyed two meals (Chinese and Mexican) together, got to meet Jess's folks and siblings for the first time, and went to church with them on Sunday. It was so good to see them all.

Our time with the folks (Glenn and Mary) was very restful. Glenn cooked up a storm and we had fun just chilling together for three whole days. Mom and I enjoyed watching our favorite movie "Inkheart". We also drove to Galveston Island and Bob saw the Gulf of Mexico for the first time. We ate some wonderful seafood at Fisherman's Wharf and just had fun sightseeing along the way.

On the trip home we drove through East Texas and Western Arkansas. Bob was surprised to see how many trees there were. He thought Texas was all sagebrush! Arkansas was so gorgeous. We stopped in Kensett, IA to visit the grave of Bob's great-grandfather, Hans Langseth, who is in the Guiness Book of World Records for having a beard that's 17 1/2 ft. long.

I've never seen so many armadillos in my life! Wish some of them had been alive. When the armadillos were replaced by raccoons we knew we were home in Minnesota. (Isn't that gross?)