Friday, May 30, 2014

Tender Moments

Longing to sharing a few tender moments, I sat perched on a stool in the laundry room, my gaze transfixed by the unfolding of moments out a small window.  I have carefully listened every morning for the sound of their voices, and have waited until just now to create a memory of their visit.  

Watching them, I knew it would be soon.  And so it was.... they took their leave, today.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

One Last Gift From Mom

Every summer starting around the time I was eight years old until entering high school, my mother  would spend hours reading to my sister and I.

Even on hot days, the three of us would camp out under a shade tree in the backyard lounging on aluminum-style lawn chairs, as mom regaled the entire Little Women series by Louisa May Alcott.  I enjoyed these moments, listening to my mother's soothing voice, and daydreaming my way through the adventures of Jo March and her family.

I think of this fond childhood memory even more so now, since my mom passed away last year. Although not a mother myself, this Mother's Day I was lucky enough to receive a very special gift.

Over many months, my family has been sorting and passing along old photos, and miscellaneous treasured items belonging to mom.  Although I have received some cherished mementoes, there was still one thing I longed to have, that precious set of books read to me every summer.

But after searching high and low, several times, the books were no where to be found, and my father began to think mom had donated them long ago.  And as time wore on, I also began to lose hope, thinking my dad's hunch just might be right.

However just recently, my sister was cleaning the very back of a large closet, even though it was a space that had already been searched.  Through her persistence, she uncovered a box hidden by a mountain of old magazines. Inside the box were the very books thought to be lost forever.

My sister had planned to surprise me with a package in the mail, but could not keep her discovery a secret.  Call me crazy or superstitious, but I believe the timing serendipitous, perhaps to coincide with the Mother's Day holiday, or perhaps just a simple reminder of a mother's love and one last gift from mom.

* Photos Courtsey of Christa Nall

Monday, April 14, 2014

Reasons To Celebrate!

This week I have several exciting happenings to celebrate!  Not only am I commemorating another birthday, but I am also heralding the debut of my new gift line, Janie's Woods by Mudlark/Madison Park Group.

I am always proud of the retail products I lend my artworks to, but I am especially thrilled with this giftware, as each piece is of the highest quality.  It is also very special to me because the collection is named, as a tribute, after my late mother.

Sometime amidst sorrow and despair, there are glimmers of light and hope.  Mudlark/Madison Park Group gave me the opportunity to do what I do best, make art.  Instead of focusing on the pain and loss of a kind gentle soul, I am celebrating my mom through this collaboration with two really wonderful manufacturers. They have helped me to create a lasting dedication, bring attention to my mother's life and her battle with cancer.  Now, I have the opportunity to share with the world the essence of her radiant soul, which served as inspiration for these beautiful pieces.

The collection is truly incredible with such a wonderful selection of items. I have pictured only a few in this post.  I hope you will consider purchasing pieces as gifts for someone or for yourself.  They are sure to compliment any decor.  Look for the Janie's Woods collection in local retail shops, department stores, or purchase on-line.

My sincerest thanks goes to everyone involved in this project from Mudlark/Madison Park Group.  I have been blessed by your expertise, wisdom, and caring.  And thank you, dear reader... for your continued support of artists.  It is through you spreading the word to others and purchasing our treasures that we have reasons to celebrate!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Persistent Impulses

I continue to find myself drawn...  over and over again to the land, with very strong inclinations to further explore this subject.  The art workshop I participated in last week left me energized, and my creative juices are still boiling over.  So, I have begun to act on the persistent impulse by following some good advice given by instructor, Marla Baggetta.  Currently, I am gathering resource images for my next piece, and making ready a space in my studio to create with Pastel.

I love this quote Marla shared with the students on the final day... Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

-Calvin Coolidge 

(* The artwork shown was created in class, and is a composition inspired by Marla Baggetta's 100 Various Series.)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Serious Play

This past week I had the pleasure of participating in a three day Pastel workshop taught by Marla Baggetta.  The class mostly concentrated on landscapes. I painted a scene from the Kansas Flint Hills.  The artwork above is my completed piece.

I absolutely loved the setting for our class, which was in the main gallery of the Wichita Center For The Arts. We were surrounded by incredible Pastel artworks on display for a National Pastel Show. 

I could not resist snapping a picture of Marla's Pastel Box, such luscious colors melting together in an irresistible rainbow.  I just wanted to dive in and play!

This artwork was the result of an end-of-workshop exercise. We had to draw one object, the object had to be a big as the large sheet of paper, we had to add a background, and it was timed to thirty minutes. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Inside My Sketchbooks

Nature is a common thread that connects many facets of my life.  More than ever, I find myself wanting to sort-of melt into the landscape and just be part of the Prairie's wide-open spaces.  I plan to spend more time communing with nature this year.  This is one of the many promises I made to myself after my mom passed.  I want to take time to breathe, to step into each moment with intent, to live fully.  How do I accomplish all of these... well, I am not completely sure, yet.  But I am figuring it out as I go. Isn't that what life's all about, learning along the way, making mistakes, and trying again?

I have always painted wildlife, as a way to feel that closeness to nature.  Feeders just outside my windows put me almost at arms reach of the many birds that visit.  I even started several sketchbooks, years ago, of my various garden flowers and roses.  I sporadically pull these books out to add a few pages to each.  I hope to make sketching outdoors a common occurrence this year.  Practice makes perfect with any endeavor... Here's to a renewed beginning!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Round Robin

During this Winter of drastic extremes between a frigid snowy East and a warm drought-ridden West, Kansas has found itself hovering the dividing line, leaning mostly eastward towards snow and ice.

There are small signs of Spring on the horizon.  One indication is the now frequent appearance of American Robins.  It is not uncommon in the Springtime to see as many as thirty Robins visiting the yard at one time, feasting on remaining dried crabapple berries that are left on the trees or have fallen to the ground.

Very rarely do Robins eat from bird feeders. In fact since I have been feeding birds, I have never seen a Robin partake from any bird food offerings. However this year with the unpredictable snow and cold, I have been entertained and inspired by a few visits to my feeder.

Although I am partial to the BlueJay, the Robin feels like an old friend. They are such a familiar and favorite subject to paint.  And another reminder that Spring is eternal!