Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lions for the Artswebshow Challenge

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.
- Thomas H. Huxley, 1825-1895


The Shy Lion
4″ x 6″ Watercolor

We have been invited to a challenge over at the Artswebshow blog, to paint or draw this lion.  I painted this one first and thought he looked kinda sweet and shy.  Then….

The Cowardly Lion
4″ x 6″ Watercolor

I think this one looks like the Cowardly Lion on The Wizard of Oz.  I quit while I was ahead.   Then….

The Lion in Bethville
4″ x 6″ Watercolor

This one felt more like me.  I had a great time doing this.  If you want to see a terrific lion, go over to Leslie White’s blog and see hers.  It’s amazing!  There may be more, but I have been so busy that I haven’t been able to get around and visit my favorite blogs.  I’m going to try to make some time, because they always brighten my day!  :)

Thomas H. Huxley

Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS (4 May 1825 – 29 June 1895) was an English biologist, known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his advocacy of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.[1]
Huxley’s famous 1860 debate with Samuel Wilberforce was a key moment in the wider acceptance of evolution, and in his own career. Huxley had been planning to leave Oxford on the previous day, but, after an encounter with Robert Chambers, the author of Vestiges, he changed his mind and decided to join the debate. Wilberforce was coached by Richard Owen, against whom Huxley also debated whether humans were closely related to apes.   More…..

Monday, August 30, 2010

Scottish Castle

“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: Try to please everybody all the time.”
– Herbert Bayard Swope

Scottish Castle
4″ x 6″ Watercolor

The image for this painting came from agnesdale at WetCanvas.  She is currently living in Scotland.  I had fun with this painting.  I may not have gotten very close to the reference castle, but I had a great time!  :)

About Herbert Bayard Swope

Herbert Bayard Swope, the colorful, hard-driving American journalist who became famous as a war correspondent and editor of The New York World, was the first writer to win a Pulitzer Prize for reporting. He was born in St. Louis in 1882. He coined the phrase “cold war” as a speechwriter for statesman Bernard Baruch. In his leisure time, he was a brilliant gambler at the track, at cards, and at stocks, and threw lavish parties. He died in 1958.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Candy Cane Shoes

“No great deed, private or public, has ever been undertaken in a bliss of certainty.”
– Leon Wieseltier

Candy Cane Shoes
2.5″ x 3.5″ Watercolor ATC

I can no longer wear high heels.  I just simply forgot how to walk in them.  But…. If I could, I would so wear these!  Aren’t they fun?  I painted them so long ago that I can’t remember where I got the photo, but I like these shoes.  :)

For  many years, I lived in high heels and business suits.  When I moved to Oklahoma in 1988, I didn’t even own a pair of jeans.  Now I live in jeans, shorts, flip flops and tennies.    I still don’t wear sweats unless I’m really sick or we have an ice storm and the power goes off.  Sometimes you just have to have comfort clothes.  he he

About Leon Wieseltier

Leon Wieseltier, the sharp-tongued literary editor of The New Republic, has used his role to deliver brilliant, scathing put-downs of intellectual fads and pretense. He was born in Brooklyn in 1952. He studied Jewish history and philosophy at Columbia, Oxford, and Harvard’s Society of Fellows. He won the National Jewish Book Award for the memoir Kaddish, about his year of mourning after his father’s death.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Work Boots

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
– Robin Williams

Work Boots
2.5″ x 3.5″ Watercolor ATC on Strathmore Textured Paper

Once again, I ran out of new paintings, so I’m dipping into the archives.  I really want to do some great big shoes.  They are fun and they have so much character.  It’s funny how shoe paintings always remind people of some fond memory.

I bought my first insulated work boots in 1993.  I was hand painting truck signs for our local concrete company and it was so cold out in their shop that I finally had to break down and buy some boots.  I still have them and they look just like these.  :)

About Robin Williams

In 2005, Robin Williams, the Oscar-winning American actor known for his wild improvisations and amazing mimicry, was voted by fellow comedians and comedy insiders as one of the top 50 comedy acts ever. He was born in 1952 in Chicago, and he first garnered attention as a stand-up comic in San Francisco. A guest role as the alien Mork on the TV series Happy Days was so popular it led to his own show, Mork and Mindy. He has starred in many successful films, including Mrs. Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting. He has three children.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Napping Fawn

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
– Anna Quindlen

Napping Fawn
4″ x 6″ Watercolor Postcard

This sweet little fawn is a reference by EllZee at WetCanvas.  It’s a quickie that I did in 15 minutes, while waiting for dinner to come out of the oven.  The spots are gouache.

I have three 24″ x 48″ gallery wrapped canvases sitting in my lobby right now.  They arrived from Jerry’s Artarama on Monday.  Wow!  They are Intimidating with a capital I! I received some 6″ x 12″ canvases on Tuesday and they didn’t scare me a bit!  :D

About Anna Quindlen

Anna Quindlen was only the third woman to become an Op-Ed writer for the New York Times. She was born in 1952 near Philadelphia. As a columnist, she blended the personal with the political, drawing parallels between the two. She left the Times to write fiction. Her novel, One True Thing, became a film starring Meryl Streep. She is the first writer with books on the fiction, nonfiction, and self-help New York Times bestseller lists. She lives with her husband and children in New York.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Texanna Rural Fire Department

“Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.”
– George Sheehan

Texanna Rural Fire Truck
16″ x 20″ Acrylic on Canvas

Do you remember this painting?  I originally posted it here.  I changed the sky, so that it would match the rest of the painting better and called it done.

Yesterday, it was donated to the Texanna Rural Fire Department.  They were thrilled to have it, as it is a portrait of their old International truck.  It’s new to them and it’s still in use.

Here is Phillip Nichols with his new painting.  It will be hanging in their community center.  Cool!

About George Sheehan

American doctor George Sheehan changed course midway through his life. He was born in Brooklyn in 1918 to a cardiologist father and grew up to follow in his footsteps. At age 45, bored with his life, he began reading philosophy and took up running. Within five years he ran a 4:47 mile, the fastest ever clocked by a 50 year old. He started a weekly column and became medical editor for Runner’s World. He wrote eight books. Bill Clinton dubbed him the philosopher-king of running. He died in 1993.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Montreal in Color

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
– Andy Warhol

Montreal in Color (Stage 1)
10″ x 14″ Watercolor & Acrylic on 140 lb cold press paper

I drew the buildings on watercolor paper, then painted all the lines in with black Golden Fluid Acrylic paint.  It took 2 hours from blank paper to this stage.    I couldn’t wait to fill in the color.  I felt like a little kid with a brand new coloring book!

This is the painting after I spent approximately another 3.5 hours filling it in with watercolor.  It was so fun!!!  If you want to see the original image by EllZee, go here to the WetCanvas WDE.

About Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol, the American pop artist, is probably best known for his silk screens of Campbell Soup and Marilyn Monroe. He was born as Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh in 1928. His style borrowed from comic books and advertising; he wanted to remove the separation between commercial and fine art. His studio, the Factory, became a hub for the New York art scene. He was also a prolific filmmaker. He was shot three times in the chest in 1968 and narrowly escaped death. He died in 1987.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Baby Elephant

“Just remember… people are like sticks of dynamite;  the power’s on the inside, but nothing happens until the fuse gets lit.”
Mac Anderson

Baby Elephant
7″ x 11″ Watercolor and Ink on Fabrino Hot Press Paper

Since I am digging into the archives this week, I thought I’d share this odd little painting.  It’s some of my experimental painting.    I was digging through art books and one of them led me to use salt and a little alcohol for the affects I got here.  I remember it being fun!  :)

MAC ANDERSON is the founder of Simple Truths and Successories, Inc., the leader in designing and marketing products for motivation and recognition. These companies, however, are not the first success stories for Mac. He was also the founder and CEO of McCord Travel, the largest travel company in the Midwest, and part owner/VP of sales and marketing for Orval Kent Food Company, the country’s largest manufacturer of prepared salads.

His accomplishments in these unrelated industries provide some insight into his passion and leadership skills. He also brings the same passion to his speaking where he speaks to many corporate audiences on a variety of topics, including leadership, motivation and team building.
I love Simple Truths books.  I have 10 of them and they’re awesome!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gouache Forest

“Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is.”
– Erich Fromm



Gouache Forest
5.5″ x 10″ Gouache on Art Spectrum Colourfix

I really love this odd little painting.  It’s another older one.  I was having fun playing with light and shadow, with a limited pallet, letting the colourfix play a big role.  Little did I know back then, that I would be developing this style into a fun way to find my voice.  How fun is that?

About Erich Fromm

Erich Fromm, the humanist German psychoanalyst and author, is best known for his book, The Art of Loving, which describes love as care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge. Born in Germany in 1900, he emigrated to the United States in 1934, fleeing Hitler’s regime. He taught at a number of universities in the U.S. and Mexico and wrote eight books delineating his view of human nature. He believed that modern society makes us feel isolated and long to reach out to others. He died in 1980.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yupo Pasture

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”
– Anatole France

Yupo Pasture
10″ x 8″ Watercolor on Yupo

Those two acrylic paintings took so long to do that I am going to post an old painting today.  I usually manage 5 paintings a week, but not this week.  :)

I like the peacefulness of this scene.  In total contrast, I am literally ga ga!! I have been commissioned to do a 2′ x 4′ version of my Little Pink House painting!  I am so thrilled!  It’s going to Florida and I am “butt wiggling” happy!  (I finally shot a price to her and she was very happy with it, so now it is real.)

About Anatole France

Anatole France was the pen name of Nobel Prize–winning French author Jacques Anatole Fran├žois Thibault. He was born in 1844 in Paris. His father was a book dealer, and France spent his life among books, including 14 years as assistant librarian to the French Senate. His novels, including the Contemporary History series and The Gods Are Athirst, often use allegory and religious symbolism as vehicles for moral questions. He died in 1924.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bridgetown, Barbados

“Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.”
– James Bryant Conant


Bridgetown, Barbados
8″ x 8″ Acrylic on Ampersand Artist Panel

This is Broad Street, from Valri Ary’s WDE at WetCanvas.  Of course, I waaaay simplified it.  There was a lot of noise and I couldn’t wrap my head around all of it.  Okay…. I didn’t know how to paint it.  :)

I think I should have painted all the people with their arms up in the air, screaming, “Help me, I’m falling!”.  I had my perspective down pretty good, until I added the ground.  All the people should be sliding to their left.  Oh well.  I had fun and that’s what counts.  There are no perspective police in my world.  *giggle*

About James Bryant Conant

James Bryant Conant, the American chemist and educator, is known both for his role in the Manhattan Project — which developed the first nuclear weapons — and for his innovative tenure as president of Harvard University. Harvard had been a finishing school for the rich; Conant turned it into a world-class research university and created aptitude tests to choose students by ability. These tests became the basis for the SAT. He was born in Massachusetts in 1893 and died in New Hampshire in 1978.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Little Pink House

“We strain to renew our capacity for wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again.”
– Shana Alexander


Little Pink House
8″ x 4″ Acrylic on Gallery Wrapped Canvas

This is painted from a WetCanvas WDE reference photo by Valri Ary.  It’s in Barbados and Valri and I went there together in September of 2008.    It was so wonderful and it’s hard to believe it’s already been two years ago.

I also live in a pink house.  (It was my husband’s idea.  hehehe)  It sits on a hill overlooking Lake Eufaula and has  become a landmark from the water.  “Go the the pink house and turn left to go to the dam or turn right to go to No. 9 Marina.”  Last weekend, someone told us they have been calling it the Mary Kay house.  We’ve been in it for 5 years and that’s the first time we have heard that one!  :D

Here are some other views of this little painting.

About Shan a Alexander

Shana Alexander, the pioneering American journalist who was the first female staff writer at Life magazine, was best known for her combative “Point-Counterpoint” segments with conservative James Kilpatrick on 60 Minutes, which became fodder for a long-running Saturday Night Live spoof. She was born in 1925 in New York City. Her first assignment as a journalist was to interview the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. She wrote several nonfiction books, mostly true crime accounts. She died in 2005.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fairy Door

“A man is what he thinks about all day long.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Fairy Door
6″ x 10″ Acrylic on Raw Wood Fairy Door

This was a fun little project.  The elements were there already, so all I had to do was paint it and add a few embellishments, like the flip flops, flowers and sun.  I made it for a girlfriend who loves all the little outdoor fun things.  It is coated with polyurethane to weather proof it.    I hope she likes it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is truly the center of the American transcendental movement, setting out most of its ideas and values in a little book, Nature, published in 1836, that represented at least ten years of intense study in philosophy, religion, and literature, and in his First Series of essays.

Born in 1803 to a conservative Unitarian minister, from a long line of ministers, and a quietly devout mother, Waldo–who dropped the “Ralph” in college–was a middle son of whom relatively little was expected. His father died when he was eight, the first of many premature deaths which would shape his life–all three brothers, his first wife at 20, and his older son at 5. Perhaps the most powerful personal influence on him for years was his intellectual, eccentric, and death-obsessed Puritanical aunt, Mary Moody Emerson. Yet Emerson often confessed to an innate optimism, even occasional “silliness.”  more….

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Marv, the Alpaca Wool Salesman

“Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.”
– John Updike


Marv, the Alpaca Wool Salesman
4″ x 7.5″ Watercolor

Marv is the greatest alpaca wool salesman for miles!  He does have a little proplem with poor dental habits, so suffers from a little bad breath.  There are rumors floating about that he wears a toupee, too!  :)
My friend Mary,  in Ohio, has kids who raise alpacas, so Marv has gone to live with them.  Maybe they can help him with his bad breath problem.

The reference photo was from Crystalline174 at WetCanvas.  This painting was inspired by the alpaca’s teeth.  I know…. I’m weird!  *big grin*

Does he remind anyone of Herb on the old television series WKRP in Cincinnati?  :)

About John Updike

John Updike, the Pulitzer Prize–winning American novelist known for his careful craftsmanship and small-town settings, has published more than 60 books to date. He was born in 1932 in Pennsylvania. As a child he suffered from stammering and was encouraged by his mother to write. After college, he joined The New Yorker as a regular contributor. He is best known for his series of novels about a fictional alter ego, including Rabbit, Run and Rabbit at Rest. He lives in Massachusetts.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Puppy Puzzle

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”
John Wooden


Puppy Puzzle
5″ x 7″ Acrylic on Wooden Puzzle

I think this puzzle will probably get something else.  Remember when I said that about the Innocent Cat?    he he  That cat became quite a hit on facebook.

I had the most amazing flight last night!  I did a bunch of really good landings and I feel a solo coming.    Then this morning I got word that I am the official sign company for Carlton Landing.  I am thrilled about that!  It is a wonderful opportunity and I am very blessed!  Whoo-Hoo!!

I love this big wonderful life!!! :)

In looking for a biography on John Wooden, I discovered that he was an amazing person with a long, rich history.  All of the biographies were really long, so please click on the links here for more info.  He said some incredible things in his life, such as:

“Be true to yourself.
Make each day your masterpiece.
Help others.
Drink deeply from good books.
Make friendship a fine art.
Build a shelter against a rainy day.
Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.”

John Robert Wooden
Born: 1910-10-14
Birthplace: Hall, Indiana
Race: White
Religion: Protestant
Field: Basketball
Famous for: Winningest-ever college coach
John Wooden Offical Website:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Jeep Wrangler

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
– Theodore Seuss Giesel

I LOVE that quote! :)


My Jeep Wrangler
4″ x 4″ Acrylic on Ampersand Artist’s Panel

I think my little jeep is just the cutest little thing.  I often let out a woo-hoo or two when I drive it.  Mostly I have to drive my boring old F150 work truck, so the jeep is really fun.

I think this would make a neat holiday card with a pine tree in the back.  I especially like the little trees Leslie White has been painting.

You can see them here and here.

About Theodore Seuss Giesel

Theodor Seuss Geisel, the beloved Dr. Seuss, is renowned to generations of children as the author of Green Eggs and Ham and other deliciously absurd picture books. He was born in 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. His first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times. He wrote The Cat in the Hat after Houghton Mifflin asked him to write a children’s primer using fewer than 250 easy-reader words. He died in 1991.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Aquarium View

“When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time.”
– St. Francis De Sales


Aquarium View
7.5″ x 11″ Acrylic & Watercolor on Watercolor Paper

I started this painting with acrylic, as I intended to do a watercolor wash to finish it.  I could have used masking fluid, except I don’t get along very well with masking fluid.

So here it is after I completed the acrylic.

And after I added the watercolor.

I had a lot of fun painting this, except when I got a little dizzy from painting all those leaves.  It was almost like doing pointilism.  It makes my eyes go cross-eyed!

The reference photo is by Crystalline174 at WetCanvas.  The funny thing about this painting is that my husband actually likes it.  That’s weird.  he he  :)

About St. Francis De Sales

St. Francis de Sales (1567–1622), known as the Gentle Saint, was bishop of Geneva. His motto was, “He who preaches with love preaches effectively,” and his religious texts, including Introduction to the Devout Life, have resonated with many non-Catholics. Pope Pius IX proclaimed him a patron saint of writers. Some consider him a patron saint of the deaf; he invented a form of sign language to teach a young deaf man how to communicate.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Whimsical Self Portrait

“Do your work; not just your work and no more, but a little more for the lavishing’s sake – that little more which is worth all the rest.”
Dean Briggs


Whimsical Self Portrait
9″ x 12″ Linocut Block Print

I was in a printmaking exchange back in March of 2009.  We all did a whimsical self portrait and traded them with each other.  I can’t say this looks like me, but it was fun to do since I had never done a self portrait.  Linda,  over at Linda Halcomb’s  Blog has presented us with our fall project.  We are all going to do a self portrait and post it to our blogs on September 21st, linking back to Linda’s blog.   I have been wanting to do a self portrait again…. that may even look kinda like me,  so I’m in.  Are you?

Part of the linocut process.  :)

About Dean Briggs

I enjoy craisins on my salad. I feed on thunderstorms. I see the world in watercolor. I write like a I paint. I compose on a Mac. I delight in my family. I have eight children and every one of them is special. I have a beautiful wife, a widow like myself, and I’m lucky to have her. I have simple tastes. Coffee is a gift. Laughter is even better. Once upon a time, I played basketball. As a wild act of faith, I installed a basketball goal at my new house, in hopes that I might again. A good late night snack is Raisin Bran. Loyalty and patience are admirable qualities in anyone. The Book of Names, and the additional titles to come in The Legends of Karac Tor series, are my gifts to my four boys after the death of their mother, as we have sought to live well in this strange, new world.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blue Shoes

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”
– Will Rogers


Blue Shoes
4″ x 4″ Acrylic on Ampersand Artist Panel

Don’t you know the reference shoes were plain old ordinary black?  I had such a good time painting this!  All the little shadows that give the laces form are fun to play with.  I added all the light I could muster up, just by playing with the shadows.  :)

Don’t you love Will Rogers!

About Will Rogers

American humorist Will Rogers was considered the Mark Twain of his generation. He was born in 1879 in Oklahoma, of Cherokee descent, and left school early to become a cowboy. In South Africa his showy roping skills won him a job in a traveling Wild West show, and he quickly switched over to vaudeville and film acting roles. He wrote six books and 4,000 syndicated columns. An avid flier, he died in a plane crash in 1935.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Yellow Shoelaces

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”
Langston Hughes


Yellow Shoelaces
4″ x 4″ Acrylic on Ampersand Artist Panel

This was fun!  I did a series of 24 shoe ATCs in watercolor for an exchange once and it was really fun.  I painted this from looking at a closeup of a white shoe with white laces.  But of course, I had to add color!    I’m thinking of a new series in acrylic.  A girl’s just got to get her giggles, I say!

My second newsletter goes out today, so if you have already subscribed, be sure to watch your email.  If you haven’t signed up, look for the link in my blogroll.  I’ve been giving stuff away and you don’t want to miss that, do you?  :D

Today is my husband’s birthday and President Obama’s birthday.  I’m going to celebrate by taking a flying lesson.  One of these days, I’m going to get to solo.  I have 15 hours, but the lessons have been spread too far apart because my CFI is such a busy guy.  He’s promising to give me more time, now that summer is waning.  I hope he does.  When the lessons are closer together, my retention is better.

Langston Hughes

(February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967)
Born in Joplin, Missouri, James Langston Hughes was a member of an abolitionist family. He was the great-great-grandson of Charles Henry Langston, brother of John Mercer Langston, who was the first Black American to be elected to public office, in 1855. Hughes attended Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio, but began writing poetry in the eighth grade, and was selected as Class Poet. His father didn’t think he would be able to make a living at writing, and encouraged him to pursue a more practical career. He paid his son’s tuition to Columbia University on the grounds he study engineering. After a short time, Langston dropped out of the program with a B+ average; all the while he continued writing poetry. His first published poem was also one of his most famous, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, and it appeared in Brownie’s Book. Later, his poems, short plays, essays and short stories appeared in the NAACP publication Crisis Magazine and in Opportunity Magazine and other publications.  Read more…