Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Refuse to Give Up

“Great leadership usually starts with a willing heart, a positive attitude, and a desire to make a difference.”
~ Mac Anderson

Refuse to Give Up

2.5″ x 3.5″ Watercolor & Gouache from the Windows Series

I used a piece of watercolor paper that I had already treated with watercolor, salt and saran wrap.  I found a picture of this stone window somewhere and was impressed that it stays where they put it.  It was really fun to paint all the different stones and concrete on that little blue ATC.

Mac Anderson is the founder Simple Truths & Successories, the leader in creating products for employee motivation and recognition. Successories, however, is not the first success story for Mac Anderson. He was also the founder and CEO of McCord Travel (one of the largest travel companies in the Midwest) and as a part owner of Orval Kent Food Company (the largest manufacturer of prepared salad products in the country), he was Vice President of Sales and Marketing. His remarkable accomplishments in these three unrelated industries provide some insight into his passion and leadership skills.
Mac brings the same passion to his speaking when he shares his business experiences with others. In addition, he is the author of two books, The Nature of Success and The Power of Attitude. He also introduced The Race, a motivational classic.
To learn about Mac’s newest venture Simple Truths, LLC. please visit
FTC disclosure:  I have been buying books from Simple Truths for many years now.  They are amazing!  I buy them for their wonderful inspiration, and I often give them as gifts.
Once you start reading them (they are small and a quick read) you’ll be hooked!  I have 6 of them on the shelf by my computer and more at home.  :) The link above is an affiliate link.  If you purchase something from that click, I will receive a little commission. Trust me, you will receive so much more!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Hiker

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”
Peter Marshall


The Hiker
2.5″ x 3.5″ Watercolor on Strathmore Textured ATC

I had one more little painting in me for Harry’s challenge.  The hills are alive with his texture.  :)
I enjoy painting small.  The challenge for me will be to paint big.  Yesterday’s 8″ x 10″ painting was larger than I usually do.  I enjoyed it.  Maybe there are some larger paintings in my future.  :)

About Peter Marshall

Peter Marshall, the witty, magnetic Scottish-American preacher who became chaplain of the US Senate just two years before his death, was the subject of the 1955 movie A Man Called Peter, based on his wife’s best-selling biography. He was born in Scotland in 1902 and, as a boy, wanted to go to sea; he served in the navy before becoming a minister. His compelling orations and his belief that religion should be fun drew large congregations to his church. He died in 1949.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bunuel's Tattoo

“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”
– Gilda Radner

Over at WetCanvas this weekend, Harry challenged us to do something with this design.

Sure….. I have no problem with that.  First, meet Bunuel.  :)

And then, see the results of my challenge.  This was so much fun!!
It’s 8″ x 10″ All Watercolor.

About Gilda Radner

The endearingly goofy American comedian Gilda Radner was the first actor cast on “Saturday Night Live” and stayed with the show for six years, creating such beloved characters as Baba Wawa, Emily Litella, and Rosanne Rosannadanna. She was born in Detroit in 1946. After she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the late 1980’s, she wrote “It’s Always Something,” a book about her experiences. Her widower, Gene Wilder, founded the “Gilda’s Club” national support group after her death in 1989.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Caladium Box Lid

“Character is simply habit long enough continued.”
– Plutarch


Caladium Box Lid
5″ x 5″ Acrylic

I am out of little paper mache boxes.  I wonder what’s next.  A friend just came over and showed me a diaper bag she made from a feed sack!  It is so cool!  I love creative people.  In these tough times, it’s not only frugal, but a great way to recycle!  Now my mind is whirling about some burlap bags I have been hanging on to for just the right project!  Who says you have to use a canvas?  :)

About Plutarch

Plutarch, the Greek historian who penned more than 46 anecdote-laced biographies of famous Greek and Roman figures in his Parallel Lives series of books, was more interested in exploring the influence of character on a man’s personal destiny than in writing dry histories. He was born in Greece during Roman rule, most likely in the year 46. He traveled extensively through the Roman Empire, finally returning home to become a priest of Apollo at the Oracle of Delphi. He died in the year 120.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


"Joy increases as you give it, and diminishes as you try to keep it for yourself.  In giving it you will accumulate a deposit of joy greater than you ever believed possible."

Norman Vincent Peale



6″ x 6″ Watercolor

I did this one for the Plant Parade project in the Florals and Botanicals forum at WetCanvas.  Each month, we all paint from the same references or theme and we upload it on the 25th of the month.  I think I have been doing this since late 2007.  It’s really fun and it’s not unlike what Ryan did with his poppies yesterday.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the acrylic I did.  :)

Norman Vincent Peale
Norman Vincent Peale was the pastor of Marble Collegiate Church for 52 years and one of the most influential religious figures of the 20th Century. The author of 46 books, including the all-time inspirational best-seller, The Power of Positive Thinking. With Marble Church as a base, Dr. Peale launched far-reaching innovations in the decades of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. He was a dynamic motivational speaker on countless platforms, the co-publisher of the world’s leading inspirational magazine, Guideposts, and the co-founder of the first school for pastoral psychology, The Institutes of Religion and Health. Dr. Peale recognized the powerful impact of mass media and in 1935 launched a weekly radio broadcast, “The Art of Living,” which was to continue for a record-setting 54 years. His down-to-earth message of optimism, courage, and faith in God’s love for the individual has helped countless millions find confidence and inner peace.
Dr. Peale spoke to an average of 100 groups a year, until the age of 93, and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan. He died at his home in Pawling, NY, on Christmas Eve, 1993. Dr. Peale’s wife, Ruth Stafford Peale, passed away in February 2008.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Poppies

“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.”
William James


Spring Poppies
4″ x 4″ Acrylic

Ryan, on his blog,  asmalltowndad, posted a photo of poppies and challenged all of us who follow his blog to do our own version of the poppies and post them today.  I have already peeked at his and they are gorgeous!    I did mine on a little paper machete box.  Here are a couple other views.

I’m off to post a link on Ryan’s blog.  It should be fun looking at all the poppies today!

About William James

American psychologist and philosopher William James, brother to author Henry James, wrote voluminously during his life, exploring a range of issues from a theory of emotion to a philosophy of history. He was born in New York in 1842 and wanted to be an artist, but his father disapproved. He obtained a medical degree but felt unsatisfied and depressed, leading to a crisis that he called his soul sickness. After this turning point, he began his fulfilling second career. He died in 1910.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chocolate Drizzled Delights

“Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Chocolate Drizzled Delights
5″ x 7″ Watercolor

I enjoyed painting these yummy treats, even though I’m not a big donut eater.  They taste good, but an hour later I’ll feel bad.     Not unlike some passions, I guess.  :)

About Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson helped spark the transcendentalist movement with the essay Nature, which described his belief in the spiritual essence of humanity and the natural world. He was born in Boston in 1803. He was a Unitarian minister until he resigned in 1832 to become a philosopher and writer. He suffered the untimely deaths of many of his loved ones: three brothers, his first wife at age 20, and his eldest son at age five. Emerson died in 1882.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sally's Lighthouse

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
– Sir Winston Churchill


Sally’s Lighthouse
6″ x 6″ Acrylic on Little Box
My friend Sally has a room in her house decorated with a lighthouse theme.  I painted this little box for her birthday.

About Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill was an extraordinary British prime minister; he laid the groundwork for welfare in England, helped set the boundaries in the Middle East, became a symbol of the resistance against the Nazis in Europe, and was a central force in the Allied victory in World War II. He was born in 1874 near Oxford. He was known for his courage, his stubbornness, and his powerful personality. He was also an accomplished painter and writer. He died in 1965.

Friday, March 19, 2010


“Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different.”
– Katherine Mansfield

That philosophy is exactly why I put the quotes out there every day.  I really think that if you begin your day with something positive, it can genuinely change the course of your day.  It works for me, anyway.  :)

2.5″ x 3.5″ Watercolor ATC

Something about this little scene looks optimistic to me.  Fresh spring air coming indoors after a long winter.  It just feels happy and warm.

About Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield was the pen name of short story writer Katherine Beauchamp, who is best known for her collection The Garden Party. Born in New Zealand in 1888, she moved to England as a young woman and became friends with writers such as Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence. Her writing style was influenced by Anton Chekhov; like him, she focused on intimate moments that revealed character. She in turn influenced a generation of short story writers. She died in 1923 of tuberculosis.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

All Dressed Up

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
– Mark Twain

That is so true!  Maybe this is another reason we blog.  :)


All Dressed Up
2.5″ x 3.5″ Watercolor on Strathmore Textured Paper

This was fun to do in this small size.  I chose the name because no matter how plain the building, when you add a beautiful window, it is all dressed up.
I love stained glass.  I learned how to do it when I was younger, but gave it up because I didn’t have the space to leave it out all the time.  Stained glass is a little to hard to do on the kitchen table between meals.  :)

About Mark Twain

Samuel Clemens, the iconic American humorist and writer, is better known by his pen name Mark Twain. He was born in 1835 in Missouri. He worked at several jobs, including steamboat pilot and miner. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, and other successful novels. His writing captured a very American vernacular and flavor, and helped create a distinctive American literature. He died in 1910.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt


2.5″ x 3.5″ Watercolor ATC

The perspective on this one doesn’t seem quite right, but I had a great time doing the broken glass.   So… just pretend the perspective is working.  *giggle*   :)

About Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was a powerful political figure in her own right, crusading tirelessly for humanist causes. She was born in New York in 1884 and was orphaned young. After Franklin was struck by polio, she acted as his eyes and ears. She was central to the creation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which she considered her crowning achievement, and wrote numerous essays, including a long-running column called “My Day.” She died in 1962.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Closed Off

“Excellence is not an act but a habit. The things you do the most are the things you will do the best.”
– Marva Collins


Closed Off
2.5″ x 3.5″ Watercolor ATC

There’s something quite unapproachable about this window.  If yesterday’s window was a comfortable old house dress, this one just says “don’t come inside”.  If it were a woman, it may be a woman who has been hurt and needs time to reflect from within, before opening the shades to the world.  All tidy and composed on the outside, yet what lies beyond the shade is anyone’s guess.

About Marva Collins

American educator Marva Collins pioneered progressive education for disadvantaged children. She was born in Alabama in 1936 and in her 20’s moved to Chicago, where she founded a school for children who were at risk. After one year, every child tested at least five grades higher. Many public schools have successfully implemented her methods. She has appeared on 60 Minutes and Good Morning America and she recieved the National Humanities Medal from President Bush in 2004. She believes every child is a winner until someone convinces him or her too thoroughly otherwise.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A House Dress Day

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
– Helen Keller


A House Dress Day
2.5″ x 3.5″ Watercolor

This is the first card in a series of window ATCs.  I am naming each window for how I think it describes a particular mood or condition of a woman.    The drapes in this one are somewhat comforting, like an old house dress and the way they are pulled closed reminds me of wanting to just pull the curtains and stay in my comfies all day.  There’s nothing sad or hostile about this window…. I just see comfort.

About Helen Keller

American author and activist Helen Keller was born in Alabama in 1880; she became blind and deaf after a childhood fever. When she was 7, Ann Sullivan famously coaxed her out of her sullen, angry shell and taught her to communicate. From then on, Keller took on the world. She graduated from Radcliffe, traveled the world visiting sweatshops and speaking out for the powerless, helped found the ACLU, and wrote eleven books. She died in 1968.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Freddy Frog

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
– Michelangelo Buonarroti

Freddy Frog
2.5″ x 3.5″ Gouache and Spackle on Art Spectrum Colourfix

The weird thing about this little frog…. his bumps stuck out, but when I scanned it, they look like they sucked in.  Don’t ask me… I don’t have a clue.  :)
I drew the frog on the ATC, then put some plain old wall spackle on him and the trees with a small pallet knife.  After it dried, I painted him with gouache.  I am pretty sure it doesn’t have any archival qualities, but it was fun!  I’m sure there are some archival products out there that you could use under acrylic.  Try it, you’ll like it!

About Michelangelo Buonarroti

Michelangelo Buonarotti, the Renaissance sculptor and painter, is considered one of the world’s greatest artists. He was born in Tuscany in 1475. He apprenticed to a painter at age 13, infuriating his father, who considered art menial work. By age 25, he had sculpted one of his finest works, the Pietà, in St. Peter’s. Working alone, he took four years to paint more than 400 figures on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. He also designed St. Peter’s dome and is perhaps best known for his iconic statue of David. He died in 1564.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


“Make voyages! — Attempt them! — there’s nothing else…”
– Tennessee Williams

2.5″  3.5″ Watercolor

I did this little frog for an ATC swap a while back.  The frog in the reference photo was just that color.  How fun frogs can be.  They come in so many different colors and designs!  Mother nature had fun with them, too!

About Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams was the pen name of Thomas Lanier Williams, the multiple-award-winning Southern Gothic playwright best known for his plays Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie. He was born in 1911 in Mississippi, where he had a difficult childhood with an abusive father, a smothering mother, and a schizophrenic sister. His emotionally honest plays often feature sensitive souls who don’t fit into a confining culture. He spent most of his adult life in New York City. He died in 1983.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Swimming Pretty

“If you want a place in the sun, you’ve got to put up with a few blisters.”
– Abigail Van Buren

Swimming Pretty
5″ x 7″ Watercolor

This one is a little bit of a happy accident.  I placed some stretched out gauze across a piece of watercolor paper and dabbed color onto it.   (I got a little too far into it, when I realized I forgot to mask off a place for my fish. )

After it dried, I removed the gauze and continued with a little negative painting around the coral.  Not to be undone by my own forgetfulness, I painted a little fish on a scrap of watercolor paper and attached it to the painting.  I think it will make a nice birthday card for a child.  I send hand painted cards to all my family members.  They love it!

Just for fun, I pulled the colored gauze out of the trash can and scanned this one.  Isn’t that fun?  :)

An even better birthday card, perhaps?

Gotta love those happy accidents.  :)

About Abigail Van Buren

Pauline Phillips, better known as Abigail Van Buren, wrote the syndicated “Dear Abby” column for 46 years. She was born in 1918 in Iowa. She had never written professionally when she contacted the San Francisco Chronicle’s editor and said she could do better than their current advice maven. Her version was an instant success. Her twin sister, Esther Lederer, became an advice columnist under the name Ann Landers. Phillips retired in 2002; her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, took over her column.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.”
– Richard Bach

5″ x 7″ Golden Fluid Acrylics on Watercolor Paper

Here is the other half of the sheet that I used for Red Sky.  I love the way it turned out.  The dark fur is translucent violet and some translucent yellow iron oxide.  I brushed a very little bit of translucent white on the fur in areas and  some translucent yellow iron oxide on the background to give the dog form.    I used some pink for the tongue and the eyes are copper.  It was fun to see it take shape.

About Richard Bach

Richard Bach, the American pilot and author, became hugely successful with the publication of the slim novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a spiritual quest about a bird who loved to fly rather than seeing flight as a means to an end. He was born in Illinois in 1936, a descendant of composer Johann Sebastian Bach. He has been an Air Force Reserve pilot, a flight instructor, and a barnstormer; most of his books involve flight either directly or as a metaphor.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Red Sky

“What is harder than rock, or softer than water? Yet soft water hollows out hard rock. Persevere.”
– Ovid

Red Sky
6″ x 8″ Golden Fluid Acrylic on 240 lb Watercolor Paper

This project started when my friend, Deloras taught me a trick she uses often in her paintings.  She actually uses these sheets for her “found” paintings, but I didn’t “find” anything in this sheet, so I used it for something else.  Deloras finds one little something that she can build a painting around and her paintings are wonderful.

In this painting, I used a piece of a sheet of watercolor paper that I had prepared earlier.  I dribbled pure acrylic color haphazardly across a piece of watercolor paper, then smooshed saran wrap on it and let it dry.  The full sheet below shows what you have when you pull the saran wrap off.  I cut off a 6″ x 8″ piece, then marked a border around it and taped it down to a board, covering the border.  After I did the 5″ x 7″ painting, I pulled the tape off and was pleasantly surprised by the way the border looked.

I used the other part of the paper, too.  I’ll show you tomorrow what I did with it.  Very fun!  :)

About Ovid

Publius Ovidius Naso, the Roman poet known as Ovid, best known for the epic Metamorphoses, is considered one of the greatest poets of Latin literature. He was born in 43 B.C. in what is now Italy. He rose quickly in Roman government and was on track to become a senator when he chose to devote himself to poetry instead. His tale of Pyramus and Thisbe is the source for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Emperor Augustus exiled Ovid from Rome for unknown reasons in 8 A.D.; he died in exile in 17 A.D.

Friday, March 5, 2010

All Dressed Up

“Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.”
– Aldous Huxley

All Dressed Up
4″ x 5″ Watercolor

I did this little bird from a reference photo from WetCanvas‘ Just Chaos.  She is a great photographer and has been to every zoo in California.  I painted this little fellow and he just had too much detail for my liking, so I brushed some Daniel Smith iridescent silver watercolor over the details and I liked him better.
At this time, WetCanvas has 8,424,395 images in their Reference Image Library.

About Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley, the cerebral English writer and social critic, is best known for his dystopian novel Brave New World, about a theoretically ideal society that stamps out individuality. He was born in Surrey in 1894. His teen years were difficult: His mother and sister died when he was 14 and a few years later, he became nearly blind. After early success with fiction, he switched to essays and screenplays, moving to California and becoming a kind of guru for the 60’s counterculture movement. He died in 1963.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
–Emily Dickinson


Oooo, I like that quote!


2.5″ x 3.5″  Watercolor

I was so busy last weekend that I didn’t get much painting done, so I dug through my archives to find something for today.  Since I am on yet another diet, this cupcake appealed to me.

Emily Dickinson, regarded as one of America’s greatest poets, is also well known for her unusual life of self imposed social seclusion. Living a life of simplicity and seclusion, she yet wrote poetry of great power; questioning the nature of immortality and death, with at times an almost mantric quality. Her different lifestyle created an aura; often romanticised, and frequently a source of interest and speculation. But ultimately Emily Dickinson is remembered for her unique poetry. Within short, compact phrases she expressed far-reaching ideas; amidst paradox and uncertainty her poetry has an undeniable capacity to move and provoke.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sunnie Louise

“Think it more satisfactory to live richly than die rich.”
– Sir Thomas Browne


Sunnie Louise
2.5″ x 3.5″ Watercolor & Gouache on Art Spectrum Colourfix

Art Spectrum Colourfix is a paper used for pastels.  Pastels and I do not really like other very well, so I did a series of ATCs with it.  I put the first layers down with gouache  and when the gouache is wet, you can drop in some watercolor and it blurs right in, for lack of a better word.  It’s fun to paint on because it resists the paint just enough to make it sit on top of the paper for a bit, which makes playing a real treat.   I haven’t tried the light colored colourfix, because all I have is darks.  I imagine that would even be more fun!

About Sir Thomas Browne

The erudite English doctor Sir Thomas Browne, who wrote a number of books on science and religion, was known for his baroque prose style and his controversial opinions. He was born in 1605 in London and settled in Norwich to practice medicine. He wrote his most famous book, Religio Medici (The Religion of a Physician), an intellectual autobiography, in 1635. A friend published it in 1642 without his permission, embarrassing him, but the book’s popularity encouraged him to write more. He died in 1682.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Grazing Giraffe

“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.”
– William C. Durant


The Grazing Giraffe
4″ x 5″ on 5″ x 7″ Watercolor Greeting Card

I learned something new and wonderful on Leslie White’s blog here.  She toned her kitty with a blue watercolor wash, before she painted the details in.  I thought that was brilliant, so I tried it on this giraffe.  Here is the naked picture, before I added the spots.

I really love this whole idea!  Leslie’s cat has such beautiful form, and I think it helped my giraffe.  Thanks, Leslie!!

By the way, I passed my FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test with a 93% yesterday!  I am so thrilled!  I can’t wait to start the flying lessons.  :)

About William C. Durant

William C. Durant, founder of General Motors, consolidated much of the fledgling American auto industry under one roof. He was born in 1861 in Boston and grew up in Flint, Michigan. His innovative business model was to buy out vendors and acquire competitors. Forced to resign from GM due to this management style, he founded a new company with his race-car driver, Louis Chevrolet. He later regained control of GM but lost everything in the Great Depression. He died in 1947.

Monday, March 1, 2010


“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


6″ x 8″ Acrylic on  Fabriano 140 lb cold pressed paper

I had a busy weekend, cramming for my FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam.  I did this one before I hunkered down to study.  My poor old brain hasn’t studied this hard in many many years.  I imagine that if you looked closely, you’d see the dust and cobwebs blowing from my ears!   Wish me luck!

About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., the revered civil- rights activist renowned for his stirring “I Have a Dream” speech, was arrested more than 20 times for his part in civil-disobedience actions. He was born in 1929. He believed in the power of nonviolent protest, and organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott to protest Jim Crow segregation laws. The protest was successful, leading to a change in the law and cementing King’s leadership in the emerging movement. He was assassinated in 1968.