Love deeply. Laugh. Cry. Talk to God. Be realistic about the to-do list. Stay in touch. Hug. Dream. Smile. Break Bread often with Family. Spend Time with your Girlfriends. Shop til you Drop! Extend Grace. Be Quick to Forgive and Slow to Anger. Walk. Breathe. Sing. Dance. Read. Eat Chocolate. Savor a Good Glass of Wine. Wiggle your Toes. Sleep well. Life is Good!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Grace, Courage and Faith

Someone sent me the image of this beautiful cross a while back. I don't know who the artist is but the rustic style seemed to echo today's post.

I found myself talking about my mom a lot today while waiting at the Mitchell Institute while my husband's aunt received chemo. Visiting with the now familiar faces in the waiting room is somewhat sobering and humbling. I met a couple today. She had been diagnosed this past June with Stage Four Breast cancer and it had spread to her brain. She was receiving the current phase of treatment in Houston and had come in this morning for bloodwork. We discussed the side effects she was having and I suggested a couple of things that might alleviate a few. She said the doctor didn't want her taking anything at all right now, especially live bacteria. Live cultures as in acidophilus to correct the imbalance of bacteria in her digestive system from the high dose antibiotics she's currently on for a lung infection. I told her she could get around those orders by eating yogurt with "active cultures" to which she agreed. I also suggested food enzymes for the reflux and indigestion which was a constant companion. She was also experiencing side effects from steroids. Turmeric, yes, the Indian spice, is a great substitute. It's anti-inflammatory without the side effects. I had the same experience with my mom. She asked me to get everything for her and then wouldn't take it because the doctor said not to. Makes no sense to me. When my mom passed away, my sister returned the unopened bottles to me. My mom suffered unendlessly with indigestion and digestive issues because of antibiotics. The prescriptions the doctor gave her did little to help, yet she refused to take the natural alternatives. I suppose when you are in a desperate situation as a cancer patient finds themselves you just have to focus on the doctor. That is, I suppose, where your hope lies. I knew it was healing she was hoping for. A cure. Relief. It's just frustrates me to no end when I know complimentary medicine is available yet the vast majority of physicians are not educated in alternative supports without side effects.

Having experienced cancer with my mother-in-law, my great-aunt, my mom, and now my husband's aunt, God forbid it affect my body or my family, I am informed and will first and foremost seek out a doctor who cares about the whole person, not just the disease. Perhaps that is harsh. I know insurance companies play a huge roll in a patient's care, or lack of care. That is another issue which should have us all jumping up and down and waving our arms at our government because if they take over health care we are all in trouble. That's my personal informed opinion.

Okay, I have vented. Back to the waiting room.

After my aunt went to the treatment room and the couple next to us went in for her bloodwork, I sat and watched the room, trying to imagine the hope, the hopelessness, the pain, the nausea, the sheer exhaustion of it all. It literally brought me to tears. I had to excuse myself for awhile from the waiting room and get a grip. As we left to go next door for my aunt's radiation phase of treatment, I thanked God there is a St. Jude's cause if there were children in the waiting room suffering like these adults are, I couldn't bear it. I simply couldn't.

Father, thank you for your blessings and your protective hand on my family. Thank you that the physical ailments I am experiencing are bearable. Thank you for opening my eyes these past several years to the suffering, as heartbreaking as it is. I know you have a plan for me and will use these experiences to share my faith. Thank you for equipping me with grace to offer myself as a servant to the sick, the courage to show up knowing I will leave with a heavy heart. And, the faith to know whatever the outcome, your presence will be felt in each of their lives and you will see them through to the end, whether it be the end of the disease or the end of life as we know it. I suppose the latter would cover yet both.

Be kind. You don't know what that person is going thru or has experienced. And, occasionally, give a caregiver a high five!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Storage Boxes are on Sale!

The Christmas season is coming to an end as we usher in the new year. Trying not to have the Christmas blues while facing the almost insurmountable task of taking down and putting away the decorations. I desperately need to go through the boxes and pass on things I no longer display. I so need to get over the "I may use this one day" mentality. The space those "I may need this one day" items takes up is ridiculous. I suppose we always begin thinking about organizing and purging when a new year is cresting. I think about it all year long. My garage is a wreck with Christmas boxes, art show equipment, cardboard boxes, gardening equipment, dollhouses I can't part with, exercise equipment, seasonal decorations. The list goes on and on and on. My husband commented the other day "You can't find anything in this house" obviously oblivious to find anything in the man cave. My thoughts were "If ya'll put things back where you found them, they'd be there next time you need them" instead of just dropping it where you used it. My tape dispenser is never in my studio cause my daughter uses it for scrapbooking. Perhaps Santa should have thought of that. The dog leashes are never put back in the space provided, therefor we all search for them when the dogs need to go out.

There is so much to do to keep a home organized. It doesn't get done by itself. Professional organizers tell us to purge and buy all these cute boxes to store things in. I suppose that balances it out, huh? Purge then buy. {shaking head}

Among the other daily routines I have no control over, I am determined to tackle this issue one room at a time. Top to bottom. Left to right. Keep, toss, give away, store. Then there's the outside to deal with. Dang! My car hasn't been washed in three months. Add that to the to-do list.

Looking on the bright side: I have til December 31, 2010, to finish this to-do list. That's a good thing since household chores tend to run in a never-ending chasing your tail, pick-up, put-up, shut-up and just do it cycle, while throwing in a little procrastination here and there.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


When I work, I work very fast, but preparing to work can take any length of time. ::: Cy Twombly said it well! I have so many things going on in my head it's difficult to get them on paper or make them materialize. Frustrated sometimes because to carry through with a project means I have to stop the current one. I have accumulated so many bits and pieces all over my studio just waiting to be touched and twittled with! Though quite often I find myself too overwhelmed to carry out anything at all. Should I make an appointment with a therapist? Is intervention necessary? LOL!

.... Visions of Sugarplums

Christmas in July never ended!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's everywhere. Where are my elves when I need them? I thought I was getting a head start the weekend after Thanksgiving. My husband retrieved all the boxes and the Christmas tree from the garage before going to the camp for the weekend. I put up the tree and all the decorations and cleaned it all up....that is, except for the little piles here and, wrapping, photo ornaments waiting for pictures, recipes, etc. Now it's the second week of the season and I'm still trying to finish the planters for the mantel and the dining room table centerpiece. I haven't started wrapping gifts ..... I do mean WRAPPING not bagging. I have probably 16 rolls of heavy duty wrapping paper so forget the bags this year! And I haven't started baking...made a list, sort of. There's a cookie swap next week at my daughter's house so I will at least have a variety of cookies to add to what I want to make. I'm 90% finished with the Christmas shopping and preparing for a Christmas celebration with my family members from out of town and local. Then to prepare for Christmas morning with my immediate family .... including Keller, my first granbaby girl! So excited! I had a chance to run by Al's 5&10 the other day and found some gorgeous large poinsettias for my front porch. They are still sitting on the porch in their bags three days later. Hoping to do some baking this evening cause I'll be keeping Keller this weekend while her parents are away doing Christmas things and I know there won't be time to bake then! But right now I've gotta get my Art in the Park application and CD in the mail. And, while Keller is napping, maybe I'll finish those mantel arrangements! Ho Ho Ho! Off I go!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!!!

It's like Christmas everyday since Keller was born! I have had a grand old time keeping her during the week while Jen works. She is so much fun. Watching her change day to day and seeing her learn new things has been a blast! I absolutely cannot wait until she can talk. I so want to hear her voice. She started reaching when you go to pick her up! She discovered her hair ... an mine! She pulls it all the time. I painted her toenails with delicate pink nail polish a couple of weeks ago! So cute!

Taking her from Jen every morning is like opening a different Christmas package everyday! So, so very precious. I don't need a thing for Christmas, or Easter, or birthday forever.....this is it!!! Gran Mamma's Granbaby Girl!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Abby's Family"

What fun this was! "Abby's Family" a/k/a Red Tide XVIII (3'x5'). This is a commission piece by a couple I met at the Shrimp Festival. They purchased the companion piece, Red Tide X (16x20). The image of Red Tide X is at the top right side of this blog. The adoptive parents saw the finished piece for the first time today when they picked it up. They were thrilled. I'm thrilled! I think I just expanded my "fan club" all the way to Georgia!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Moving along ... slowly but surely

After the Shrimp Festival, I made a goal to complete a painting a week from now til Spring shows begin. That was six weeks ago. I am six paintings behind. Really. Well maybe not. I didn't consider the five dog paintings I did for ArtWalk over last weekend. That counts! One of them is above. So, technically I'm only one behind!

I have been working on a commission piece during that time. It will be finished this weekend and will be delivered before Thanksgiving. I'll post it as soon as it is delivered. They have to see it before you! I'll also been taking care of Keller Bug everyday. What a joy! She's getting older and more alert of things around her. After I get this huge canvas out of my studio, there will be room for her to join me a little while each day while I catch up! I'm itching to bring out the oils! They take so long to dry so I want to do those first.

The holidays are upon us and I have a lot to do to prep for them as well. This is why I didn't do anymore fall shows ... so I could focus on the holidays. You know ... making it perfect again. Or trying to, anyway. When will I give up on that and just go with the flow? One day I'm just gonna sit and wait for someone else to volunteer to put the tree up and decorate and bake and address Christmas cards. Yeah, right! I swear. I'm gonna do it. Maybe next year.

Another thing I've done this fall. I have hung several paintings at my husband's office ... a gallery of sorts in the front entry. Looking for chairs and plants to brighten things up a bit. I may see if a few others want to join me. We'll see.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ida know what the heck's goin on!

9:50pm Hurricane a tropical storm with 70mph winds coming ashore. Unreal. It's November. Not looking forward to all the limbs we'll have to pick up tomorrow. Sitting here in the quiet listening for train engines a/k/a tornadoes. My husband spent the evening in the man cave raising things off the floor in case the water comes over the bulkhead. I spent most of the evening between Facebook and trying to stop a leak in my greenhouse with duct tape. Still dripping.

By the way, the painting above was Hurricane Katrina!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Baby Keller!!!

Making a list and checkin' it twice . . . already!

Well, if Walmart can start Christmas early, so can I! I'm determined to not wait til the last minute this year. My extended family simplified the gift giving last year and this year we are incorporating that throughout both sides! Good thing when there is often thirty or more of us to buy gifts for ... and wrap and store. I've been stashing a few things away, mostly for Keller and my younger nieces and nephews and a few things for my immediate family. I've gathered things for our Big family Christmas event which will be at our home this year instead of my moms. And, get this! I'm ready for Thanksgiving already! Jealous?! Thanksgiving weekend I will do my decorating and be free to bake and "gift" my friends and neighbors! All this and I didn't put out any Halloween decorations. Nada! Nothing! I've got a project I want to do for Christmas this year for a few friends. It's gonna take some studio time. Hope I can get it done in time. If not .... next year! But, I said that last year and well, it's this year already again! I've gotta get over this cough and yuk so I can stay on track. Time for another Dayquil!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My turn to whine!

If that smile can't make me smile, nothing can! I need a daily does of Keller Bug Juice to keep me going these days. Currently dealing with both Iron Deficient Anemia and B12 Deficient Anemia. Not only does it make you bone tired...a tired even sleep doesn't relieve, but the B12 thing is causing some mild depression. I'm sure it won't last. Needless to say, those close to me know I've had a very emotional season. The busy-ness of my art business and the shows can be exhausting enough. From July til now, the end of October, we've experienced my mom's illness and death and the mother/daughter issues I've dealt with since. Mom died nine days after my first grandbaby was born. What a roller-coaster week of emotions running back and forth several times a day between two hospitals. That was followed closely by having to take my aunt to chemo twice a week, and a five day a week regimen on chemo/radiation starting next week. She has no other relatives in Mobile. After my mom's death, I was diagnosed with a blocked nerve in my foot, arthritis in my hands and neck, high blood pressure and B12 deficient anemia and also had my iron increased cause it was no longer enough to keep my levels up. Oh, God forbid I forget about pelvic prolapse. What a pain in the ....everything! Soon thereafter, my daughter wrecked her car and I started keeping Baby Keller (which is my current favorite thing to do) after Jen went back to work. Somewhere in all that my dog got gastoenteritis. What a joy that was. All that over a four month period. I feel out of balance. I have always said "just take it as it comes" but I'm beginning to feel like I'm standing in front of one of those pitching machines and it's shooting basketballs in my direction! Stress took its toll on me. Insomnia keeps me in a sleep deficit. I've beem fighting off sick-bugs for weeks. I'm fighting back though. I mustered up all the stamina I could to do the last couple of art events and I'm not taking on any shows this fall. I'm gonna meet the commitments I've made and try to relax and get my health back up to par and paint and kiss that grandbaby girl and love my family and my dog-sons and try to enjoy the holidays.

Oh, I can put on a happy face and say hurrah! That's what everyone wants to see. People ask "Are you okay" and I say I'm fine or just tired. "Everybody's tired" or "it could be worse" they say. So, for the most part I just say "I'm fine." Fine. I'm good. If I elaborate, I'm afraid I'll just cry, for heaven's sakes. I don't like feeling like that and I'm not gonna unload on someone else. Everybody has their own things to deal with .

God will see me through this season of my life. Gosh, I'm glad there were a few years scattered in there between Katrina flooding our home and the sudden loss of my great aunt, who was the heartbeat of our family. That still brings tears to my eyes. And still a multitude of unmentioned chaotic uprisings. But hey! Life goes on and everybody has one. The happy times, the laughter, the knowing smile from my husband keeps me afloat amidst all the sadness and tiredness and physical pain. It'll be okay.

While waiting on my aunt while she was in chemo a couple of months ago, a kind woman told me I looked tired. She asked if I was a caregiver. She said "Love your neighbor as yourself" means a lot. The "as yourself" part is what people miss. Take care of yourself first, she said. You're of little use to others if you don't. Timely wisdom.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pondering . . .

It's "Boo" Season! It's also time for fall art shows!

Shrimp Festival is coming up October 8-11 in Gulf Shores. Grand Festival is the following weekend in Fairhope. Hope to see ya'll there.

I'm looking forward to the fall/winter months after these shows are over to not only prepare for the holidays but to ponder which direction to go with my art-venture. I need to focus on one medium: watercolor, acrylics or oil. I love watercolor. It's the most relaxing of all for me to work with. I love the bright colors of acrylics and the beauty of oils too. But I feel like I'm all over the place. I equally sell each medium but some are more time consuming and cumbersome than others. Watercolors require framing, matting, glass and caution while loading/unloading for shows. Oils take forever to dry and acrylics and oils are both messy mediums and end up on my clothes and everywhere else during the painting process. I'm also considering limiting the outsources I work with. It is exhausting going all over town changing out work and keeping up with the paperwork records of where everything is located. I know I need to become more involved with the art associations I'm affiliated with but for now, my time is not my own. I made the decision two years ago not to allow the art aspect to push aside "life" and not to over schedule myself as long as my daughter was still in high school. I also have a new grand baby to spoil. I hear all the time "if you aren't visible, people forget about you." I watch fellow artist friends stretching themselves thin and well, if it made me "thin" I'd be beating the pavement! Wouldn't we all! Seriously, I remind myself that I didn't begin doing the shows for recognition and fame, but as an outlet to sell and pass along paintings that were lining the walls. The hobby turned into a business and the shows became back to back and the race was suddenly on. Then my mom became ill and I lost my momentum. And the art world kept revolving all around me. Because of lack of time to paint, I've found myself throwing together pieces that don't bring me as much joy to reveal and, knowing I am my worse critic, feels substandard because I know what I am capable of doing. It's only with the acrylics that I feel that way. Maybe because I feel fine detail is expected of/from me because of my watercolors. Hmmmmmm... Have I solved my dilemma by having a conversation with the keyboard? Perhaps. I can focus on watercolors and do the occasional acrylic or oil when inspiration for a fun, fabulous piece tickles my fancy. We'll see what the future brings. I need to build a cohesive body of work for next year. My biggest job, and the most rewarding, is still being a mom and a wife and keeping a peaceful home. During the often frantic pace of being an artist, I miss keeping house, cooking, working in the garden and just being me. The peacefulness is what I miss the most because preparing for art shows causes chaos all over my home because my studio is too small to do it all simultaneously. First things first....clean my studio so I can focus. Time is on my side this season.....I hope.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

They Walk Among Us.

You know em. Those people. Sometimes camouflaged as friends and family. Concealing hidden, and often not so subtle, judgments about you or your family. Their super powers lend themselves to assumptions about your life. Little snippets of information, quite often less than factual, grow in their judgmental, analytical minds until they believe without doubt that they know your every thought, intention, belief. They are easily offended and bruised if your opinions or schedule conflicts with theirs. They believe that once wronged, people never change. They think ... no, they know beyond doubt that their values, their plans and their political views and religious beliefs are the only way and, be-damned if you don't place your own in alignment with theirs. I have a couple of those "friends" and "family" plans. I'm beginning to let those relationships drift like a corked bottle in a vast ocean of dribbling nonsense. One day, after growing in their frustrations over their vain imaginations, they'll blow that cork and sink in their guilty assumptions and gossip and only then, by the grace of God, will they learn what grace really is. I'm not perfect. No one is ... this side of Heaven. I'm also not a hypocrite. I've made mistakes. I've learned from them. Life is a perpetual learning curve, not a place for closed minds and hearts.

I thank God for my family and friends. Those who have loved me for me and haven't judged me for my shortcomings. And, may I say? Check your own tiara before attempting to adjust mine!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Which Way Will I Go?

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word ... excellence.

And to be excellent, I must focus on one thing. I don't wanna be jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none. When things slow down a bit... When I get caught up... When I have time to think...

Joyfully Occupied!!!

Isn't she delicious!!!

Hey ya'll! I've been a bit outta touch the last few weeks....

I've been watching my granddaughter since my daughter returned to work. You'd think after caring for a baby all day I'd be ready to get outta here at the end of the day....but, once I hand her over to her mom, I find myself wanting to hold her just one more time before leaving. And although having to get up to a six o'clock alarm isn't at the top of my list of faves, I so look forward to seeing her little face every morning. She changes daily. We actually had a car ride from WEMO all the way to the Infirmary and she was awake the entire time and didn't fuss...that's a milestone! Trust me! Jen said she slept through the night last night. Wow!

I can't say enough good things about her other grandmother. Pam is fabulous. More than words can say I appreciate her being here during the birth and that first couple of weeks. My mom passed away nine days after Keller was born...only having seen her in photos, which were plastered all over the walls of her hospital room. I was back and forth between two hospitals - what a parking nightmare - several times daily/nightly. While my heart ached to be there with my firstborn and her firstborn.....I knew there would be many "hellos" with her....but only one goodbye with my mom. I was so grateful for Pam's presence. Sure, after mom's funeral, I was anxious to fill that void with the new baby. I'll confess there was a little jealousy surfacing cause I couldn't be there for my daughter like I should have been. I know that is self-imposed guilt cause my daughter knew I couldn't be there. I wasn't really jealous of Pam having more time with the baby...not really. I just couldn't wait for my chance to get to know first grandchild.

It was an awful, yet bittersweet season of time. My mom couldn't have died at a worse time and my first grandchild couldn't have been born at a better time. God knew what he was doing. I miss her over the weekend and can't wait til Monday rolls around again. I can only imagine the grief Pam feels being 5+ hours away in Mississippi and not seeing her as often as she wants. I know it's heart wrenching for her. I know Keller will so look forward to road trips to Mississippi for weekends and holiday visits and to MimiPam coming to Mobile to snuggle and spoil! I didn't think I would be good at sharing ... playing fair ... with the grandmother role. But a mother's heart grows exponentially when her child has a baby. Pam and I have that in common and so much more.

Looking forward to her being spoiled rotten by the Mobile granmamma too!
The easel will have to wait a while longer!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Take more Bubble Baths!

When God is about to reposition your life know that the devil will began to attack!

I heard that on the radio a few days ago. Made me wonder about all that's been going on in my life.....physically, emotionally, spiritually. Began to ponder. Not about the "attack" but about the "repositioning" part. Is it a repositioning of my role as a woman ... grandmother. My role as an artist, a wife, a mom. I don't know. For the last few years I have been spinning my wheels in the mud and muck of life as I know it. I know I have been blessed by God in this life and know he's not finished with me yet. I wish I knew what he was trying to get through my thick skull this past few years. One of my favorite scriptures is "Be still and know." Herein lies the rub. Being still and silent is next to impossible these days. Too much busy-ness and chatter in my world to hear anything else. Hmmmmm. Perhaps I'm telling myself something. Women always do and take care of everyone else first. I need some "me" time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Going through the process . . .

So ... last night was a low in the grief process. The unanswered questions and the things gone unsaid. The mother-daughter relationship is a complicated one. I know my mom loved me. I'm told I should get over the past and move on. I'm moving on. I'm over the past. It's just ... there are things I wanted to ask. Things I wanted to say. And I often felt she did too. Instead, I just sat by her bedside holding her hand. Perhaps that bridged the gap. But there were some really deep-seated issues between us. I'm not one to dwell on the issues to the point of being incapacitated or depressed or angry. But...they are there nonetheless. The memories just spring up. These are not remembrances of teenage angst, but mostly things that happened during my adult life.

I suppose we all want to be validated for our efforts and to be acknowledge when we've been wounded. I suppose mom reaching for my hand often while she was ill, well, perhaps that was her silent way of doing that.

I bought a journal last night and will start writing in it. Questions to my mom. I can't blog about something so very personal so I'll just spill my heart on the pages of that journal. I remembered yesterday that for years I've done that in another journal when I am troubled about deeper things. It's kind of a prayer journal. A questions to God, if you will. Funny how quite often before I get to the end of a particular writing, I have an answer. An epiphany of sorts. But at least I've settled it in my heart and mind.

I am a woman. I am a human being with emotions. You don't just get over it. It takes time. Oh, I've gotten over zillions of things. But some things rock your soul and take a different process than just putting it behind you. So journaling it is.

Mom, if you're looking over my shoulder, just know I loved you with everything I have. I forgave you for what I felt were hateful jabs, jealousy, partiality and alienations of affection. Those were my adult perceptions. I know you misinterpreted my independence as not needing you. I knew you loved me. I guess I just needed to know you liked me too. I know as a mother myself, no mother is perfect. My girls have taught me that. Just know that through all the pain there was still joy. And you are a large part of who I am today. Thank you, mom. I heard your voice on the answering machine yesterday. I miss you.

Footnote: Ironically, after I completed this post, I sat down briefly to watch CBS Sunday Morning. There was an interview with Patti Davis speaking candidly about her relationship with her mom, Nancy Reagan. She spoke of feeling exiled by her mom; the silence during her adult years, and the reconciliation. She and Nancy spoke of mother/daughter conflicts. She, however, was defiant. I simply pretended all was well for the sake of harmony within our family. Oh sure I exploded a couple of times....not with my mom or siblings. Just vented to my dear husband about complicated issues as he comforted the tears and very subtly told me to get over it! I accept that cause we are wired differently and I know I am the one, the only one, who can work through it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Feeling Inspired!

I finally saw Julie & Julia! It was great! Feeling inspired to do SOMETHING! Something consistent, unlike laundry, making tea, pulling weeds and drying my hair. Something new. Something I can be passionate about. I know. I really need to add something else to my inconsistent, unexpected, flexible with other peoples' schedules, life. I'll think of something.

I considered a while back joining the painting a day movement. But I painted so prolifically last year I don't know about that. Perhaps if I choose one subject or medium or idea it would be more a challenge. I would obviously run into problems during show times cause I couldn't do a show and paint too. I'm not much of a demonstrative painter. Still considering.

I also considered blogging (of course I would blog, silly) about a personal makeover but the very idea of posting numbers mortifies me. Maybe I'll come up with a secret code that only I will know. That kinda defeats the purpose. I know.

I could start a blog about .... nah. That would only interest me. I'd like to attract followers like Julie did in the movie. Duh. I already have followers on my blog.

Okay. First I need to understand WHY I want to do this. Maybe to prove to myself I can do something consistently and see it through to the end. Ah-hah. Perhaps that would cure my tendency to procrastinate. I suppose I should practice being consistent with my bookwork, posting, etc. necessary with my art business. And, scrapbooking. And, cleaning out my closet. And, the myriad of other projects I have. Hmmmmmmmm. That may be an idea. Get-R-Done. Oh, that's already taken. Diary of a Mad Housewife? Done already. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Zippity doo dah!

Speaking of which.....I felt a little zip in my doo-dah today!!! LOL! Had a new piece of artwork framed for ArtWalk ---- which by-the-way is this Friday. ArtWalk downtown Mobile is every second Friday of each month....all year long! Spent morning at oncologist's office with aunt who was scheduled for chemo today. Her oncologist was my mom's too. Lots of nurses came out and spoke to me about mom. It was a low morning. But after getting away from there I got busy preparing for Artwalk. This will be my first "feature" event since I joined the gallery. I haven't been able to attend ArtWalk the last three months. Looking forward to it! The theme this month is "From a Child's Eye" whimsical in nature. Come out! Enjoy! Belly up to the oyster bar at Wentzell's afterwards!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"Goliath" Projects ahead!

I need motivation! Desperately. Motivation to tackle a lot of, housecleaning, yard work, health issues, cook, .....the list goes on and on. Oh, and then there's a need for energy, as well. One without the other is worthless! Yesterday was productive! Let's see...I rocked and snuggled with Keller from around 9: yesterday til after 4:00. Friends from Twitter are complaining cause I've fallen off posting since Baby Keller came! : ) Oh! I did dig a hole for a tree! Brad and Vicki gave me a pretty maple to plant in memory of my mom. Wasn't that sweet! I planted it right outside my bedroom window. Can't wait to see what color it is in the fall. And....I hung up some clothes that have been stacked up from doing laundry the last week or so and then re-heated dinner from the night before. Really progressive day, eh?! Woo hoo!

ArtWalk is next Friday. I'm scramblin to get ready for it. The theme is "From a Child's Eye" Whimsical art! I've piddled with a few things over the last few months but never finished anything. Lost inspiration before putting the work away and moving on to other things. I got back in the studio this week.....I may have logged about three hours so's Thursday already. I did finish a watercolor! Another woo-hoo! The "Goliath" grouper above is a piece I may be bringing for ArtWalk. I think it measures roughly 4'x5' and is acrylic. Anybody have a large blank wall at a place on the beach that needs a punch of color and whimsy?!!!!

Now, I need to set a week aside to catch up ....scratch that.....just DO my posting and other bookwork business. Still trying to get the train back on track. I suppose motivation comes when you're faced with a deadline.....for me anyway. So, after the ArtWalk comes the Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores. I have five pieces drawn and ready for paint. If I can ace those and get my packaged print inventory up, I'll be set. Just gotta get in the studio to get these things accomplished.

But for now ... I've gotta take Lindsay to the dentist and then to work. And then ... yep! I've got a pweshus grand daughter that misses her gramma. Twitter and facebook and all those other yadda yadda yadda things will have to least til the weekend.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Gettin the train back on track ...... Toot Toot!

Sometimes you've just gotta let a few things fall to the back burner. For me it has been my art business. And my yard. And my hair-cut appts! And my health. During my mom's illness this past year, especially the last three months, she had to be the priority so there was no painting, or posting or filing. No weed pulling. I've rescheduled my hair appointment five times! Amidst all this, Sammy, one of my "son" dogs got terribly sick too. We got him through that and he's well and joyful again. I've also been taking my 82 y/o aunt for chemo. She's doing great with it. I've been spending every possible minute when I'm not playing catch up or catch my breath....with my precious new grand daughter, Keller! She arrived less than one week before my mom passed away. She is filling the void with happier thoughts! Also trying to get a gallery pulled together at the glass shop. Giving lots of thought to doing a quarterly art newsletter but for now it's just the "thinkin" stage! I may just continue to send new "doodles" on my mailing list with brief updates about what's goin on in my world or just keep that up on this blog.

Lining up for shows this fall. I'm gonna do the Shrimp Festival! I had pulled out of it cause of my mom's illness and not knowing what phase we would be in. I was already dealing with guilt over missing Mother's Day cause of Art in the Park. She encouraged me to stay in the show .... although we both knew deep inside she wouldn't be with us next year. Now that guilt has reared it's ugly head again. I don't want to live my life with regrets and I know my mom loved me and bragged to everyone about my art. So now I've gotta get back on track and continue to make her proud!

As for myself...I had my first official panic attack at the hospital the afternoon before my mom died. It hit me like a lightnin' bolt. Now I'm taking a mild blood pressure med and increased iron and B12 shots cause all that has either shot up or bottomed out. And, when I feel the anxiety coming on I have a very low dose xanax at hand.....keeps much of the tearfulness at bay and I sleep much better with it cause all those sad well as to-do lists...seem to keep me awake. I need lots and lots of art therapy!

Spending this weekend trying to re-group and plan some new work....after I get some pieces finished for Second Friday Artwalk downtown Mobile at the Cathedral Square Gallery. I am a featured artist for the "From a Child's Eye" whimsical and fun artwork. Hope I can gather enough pieces for the event. Oh yeah! I'll just whip up a few things! But first I have to write/send out thank you cards and make a couple of cakes for birthday gifts and some other treats for all those friends who had my back this last few months! Love you all! t

Monday, July 20, 2009

. . . Circle of Life

As we welcomed Baby Keller into our world, we said goodbye to my mom. She bravely fought for a year with a terrible illness, following a five year "survival" from breast cancer. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers and encouragement throughout. And I thank the nursing staff and many others at the Mobile Infirmary wing where mom became known as Mrs. Joan to so many caregivers. They saw us through this past year with such compassion and genuine concern for my mom's well being. I know she felt blessed to know Baby Keller arrived on Monday safely and that Jennifer was recovering well. Shortly thereafter, her condition became acute....suddenly worsened while already in a critical phase. Now, mom has gone on to Heaven and, Wow! now she finally sees Keller! As a Twitter friend said, I'm glad I have this baby to fill my aching heart.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Addelyn Keller White has arrived!

Finally! She arrived this evening via c-section. 8 lbs 12 oz, 20 ".
After being induced this morning, Jen never progressed past 2 centimeters dilating and Dr. G said she had a very narrow pelvic area for the size of the baby so the c-section was necessary. They are doing great!

More pictures posted on facebook!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Takin' it as it comes these days...

What a roller coaster ride my life has been the last year. My mom's illness has been a priority for me. Followed closely by my daughter's pregnancy. Now the baby is due within four days....scheduled for delivery on Monday, July 13th. My birhtday is July 12th so I'm hoping she'll wiggle on out Sunday night! We need a bright spot in our lives right now. My mom is so desperately ill. She's in the hospital now...struggling to breathe...multiple problems related to illness since last August. She's so tired and frail.

When I'm not immobilized with worry, I'm trying to stay busy preparing for Baby Keller's arrival, and with my art business. A new gallery is in the works at Metro Glass. I'm re-vamping the front entry space all the way across the building! There will be several artists represented, including myself. We hope to have it ready by the first of August. Very excited!

I'm also working on a few new pieces for the August ArtWalk "From a Child's Eye" theme, as well as trying to keep up with all the locations carrying my artwork. Currently a work in progress is my attempt at a self-portrait I posted above! It's only about 50% done. I need to work on the complexion and don't particularly like the it's gonna get painted out and re-done. Probably need to add a touch more gray to the hair ... no feedback on that one necessary!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Who's due first?

What a couple of whackos! Would the real pregnant person please sit down?!!!
You can follow updates on Jen's blog at

Monday, June 22, 2009

Still draggin...

It's after three o'clock. I'm still draggin. I had a very brief burst of energy mid morning and was eager to go to lunch....just on a whim. Didn't go. Should have. Maybe the rest of the day would be productive. Finished the acrylic. Kind of whimsical/folk artish. Included a close-up shot of border and, Yes! Candy Corn! Did a couple of laundry loads. That's about it. The "to-do" list will just roll over to tomorrow. I've gotta get my iron prescription refilled. Feel like someone let the stopper outta my sink!

Draggin my backside today...

Today's Must-Do List:

Wake up ... already.
Clean the bathrooms!
Water the droopy plants on the back porch.
Prepare application for Grand Festival.
Finish dominecker acrylic.
Finish Trix watercolor.
Call all the patients and check on them.
Clean the litter box.
Gather all tax stuff and take to Taylor.
Walmart run.

Such an exciting day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Friday Night to Remember!

Steely Dan Tickets: $325
Dinner at Guy Harvey's: $250
Fifty year old getting carded: Priceless!!!

I don't remember Steely Dan being so instrumental. Breeze was nil. 100% humidity. Jazz instrumentals by a band we'd never heard of - for an hour. Then six LONG songs/instrumentals by Steely Dan before they played something I was familiar with. Poor Jen. At 37 weeks pregnant, she was so hot and her feet were swelling and the baby was kicking away. I don't think it was the music that got her moving....but all the fans stomping on the bleachers. Yes! Bleachers. Other than we wanted to shove the girl with the bug spray down the bleachers, the highlight of the evening was when TK stopped for beer and water at the entrance. He didn't have his license on him. They wouldn't sell him beer without checking his I.D.! He pulled of his cap and showed them his gray hair!!!!!! "No I.D. No beer, mister" The only one of us with a license was Tyler! So our youth ministry son-in-law had to buy TK a beer!!!! Priceless!!! We left probably half an hour before the end. They still hadn't played "Rikki Don't Lose that Number" by the time we got to the car. TK pulled up to the curb. It was nice and cold in the car and when we turned on the was the "concert after the concert" with Steely Dan. They sounded much better in the air conditioned car! And the tall ice-cold coke and Cheetos snack on the way home was priceless too!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tiiiiiime is on my side.....yes it is!

It is... now that I deleted Jewel Quest from my computer! That game is as addicting as Zuma! Quick check of email and you realize an hour later you've been playing games....trying to beat your last score. Do that a few times a day and what a waste of time. It was great for when I couldn't sleep at night or while I was waiting around for someone or just killing time. But it got ridiculous! Gotta find a new way to keep my mind sharp and my hand/eye coordination strong. Good thing I zapped it.....I've finished two paintings this week and have started another! I think I need to focus on getting ready for grandbaby's arrival and keeping the laundry caught up and yanking weeds and ..... well, it never ends!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Keller's Art Collection!

This begins Keller's art collection. It's called "Pals" and is a watercolor of George, GiGi and Fisher....her Beanie Babies. I'm disappointed in the photo. Too dark and doesn't show the green rug with pin polka dots. I forgot to turn on the flash. It's framed already so....oh well.

By the way ...

Today is our 30th anniversary! I did. Still do. Would do it all again. Went out for dinner! I changed my mind about going to Ruth's Chris. Then I flip flopped about Mikato's or Carraba's. Carraba's won! So did I! My husband gave me an Alwand Vahan bracelet with the fleur de lis design for our anniversary! It is BEAUTIFUL! We are also going to see Steely Dan at the Wharf Friday. Well, that's sorta a Father's Day thingy! It'll be interesting to watch eight month pregnant Jennifer maneuver 30 steps to our seats. Yikes! Can you believe less than four weeks before our grand daughter "Keller" arrives!!!

Gold Foil Stars

There must be a special place for caregivers in Heaven. It may not be full time job for me, but to be on call for every need can be exhausting. I just take it as it comes and fit it all into my art deadlines and shows and housework and other demands. I suppose we all earn our gold stars somehow. My aunt started chemo today. We sat at he infirmary from 7:30 this morning until 3:30 this afternoon. She had a five hour drip after seeing the doctor and then was sent home with a 48 hour infusion pump. Aunt Lawana had surgery for colon cancer and outside the colon last December but no chemo follow-up because of her age (82 or so). The cancer returned aggressively and they are gonna try to shrink it before doing surgery because of the organs involved. Fortunately my mom is finished with chemo for now. God's timing is amazing. Hopefully my mom will stay out of the hospital for a while. Her blood counts were low this morning but Dr. C decided to wait until Thursday to do another transfusion. I hope they can do it outpatient instead of admitting her. He is likely gonna schedule another bone marrow biopsy soon because they are concerned about her blast counts. Keep the prayers up!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happy Birthday TK!

Surprise!!! My husband's 50th birthday. We launched birthday week with a surprise "sushi" party this past Sunday. With all the hospital stuff, etc, I couldn't have pulled it off without the help of the kids and the Dawkins'. Thanks ya'll for all the love and joyful help you offered! We had around 50 friends here to surprise him when he returned from out-of-town...thanks Noma for the distraction! The Pastry Shop made the cake and Mikato, the sushi. Awesome time had by all! Next......our 30th anniversary is June 16th! Woo Hoo!

Playing Catch-Up!

Mom was discharged from the hospital today after a three week stay and will likely resume her chemo regimen next week. I haven't painted in nearly a month. I was at the gallery today and have the itch really bad! I'm working downtown tomorrow and hope to be inspired to get back to the easel as I have several commitment deadlines to meet. ArtWalk in next Friday, June 12th. Cathedral Square Gallery will be featuring their photographers in a "Here Comes the Bride" theme. Of course there is all kinds of art hanging just waiting to be taken to new homes!

Jennifer had her first baby shower this evening and received some really precious pink outfits and other precious things. Buttercream Dreams provided an awesome cake!
While all the girls were doing the baby thing...all the husbands devoured sixty pounds of crawfish on the dock!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Art in the Park!

Had a decent weekend at Art in the Park. The venue is very well managed. The Foley Art Center group are really nice, friendly folks and go out of their way to accomodate their vendors. This was my first time showing there. I'm told the crowd was down 50%. Sales were average for everyone. I came away pleased!

I did a live radio spot on WHEP 1810! Woo Hoo! I received a Merit Award ribbon and $100 for watercolor! There was a also a great feature artist write-up in the Pensacola News Journal!!! Of course! I ordered the paper!

My girls spent the weekend with me and we visited with wonderful friends who live in Gulf Shores. Their hospitality was outstanding! Thanks Julie & Merle (Wall-to-Wall Interiors).

Gotta run...I just got a phone call that my mom is being admitted to the hospital with tachycardia and needing another transfusion. If you want to read the journals I am keeping of my mom's illness, go to

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stand By Me

This is awesome! After you see the video - before you watch it for the second time! Go check out the website ( and read how it came about. More pieces on utube. I love Grandpa Elliott!

The first street musician doesn't have on earphones...he's the original. Then these guys traveled all over the world with his rendition of Stand By Me. Each additional musician is wearing headphones...listening to the first guy and adding their talent to it. This is the outcome! Fabulous! Have to get my daily dose! It feeds my soul!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

One more for the road......

My last art show is coming up this weekend....Art in the Park in Foley. It will be my last hurrah for the spring. I don't have a line-up of fall shows ...yet. You'll be first, er, well second to know! It's been a very, very, very busy spring. The three day boat show, Five days (plus three set-up days) at a very rainy Festival of Flowers, two day show at Jazz Fest in Pensacola, a show on Dauphin Island, another one (two days) on the island and this weekend's show in Foley. Keeping up and trying to have a new piece to present at every show is exhausting, yet exhilarating!

I think it's good timing to take a break from shows so I can freshen up my work a bit and bring out some new stuff in the fall. I'm gonna do a couple of road trips beyond the state lines to Florida and Mississippi to snatch a few photos that may be potential pieces of art! I'll post a piece every now and then but I'll save a few things to lure you out with!

I'm gonna have time to rejoice in the arrival of Jen's baby - my new granddaughter. I'll have time to spend with my mom. She began another regimen of drugs this morning after seeing a specialist in Birmingham Monday (not certain at this time if it is classified as chemo). Please keep her in your prayers. Tony will turn 50 this June! I'm a year behind him. Hopefully Lindsay will get her car! If you're down on the Island, stop by! Pray the hurricane season is good to us all along the Gulf Coast. If I don't see ya at Art in the Park, I'll see ya somewhere!

Don't forget the other "stationary" venues I'll be at: Metro Glass, Cathedral Square Gallery, Warehouse Marketplace, Southern Art & Framing, Middle Bay Boat Sales, and .....coming back Dauphin Island gift shops!

It's been a blast of a spring! Thanks for the support and encouragement!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Addelyn Keller White

This is a photo from the 4D ultrasound last week! She's grown so much! She has the same nose Jen had when she was a baby! She kept sucking on her fist and we didn't get a clear full face shot. Pweshus!!!! "Baby Girl" II

Monday, April 27, 2009

This Life I've Chosen ... Part III

OVERCOMING ADVERSITY AS AN ARTIST or Getting gigged by a fellow artisan.

The month of April marks a full year after I first "went public" with my artventure! Yay! Thanks to all of you who pushed and encouraged and advised and purchased my art! There have been many, many, many ups and downs. 98% of the artists I've met have been consistently helpful and encouraging. Then...there's that other two percent! I've had some doozy experiences with fellow artists over the last year from low-handed attempts to sabotage my art ventures, being told my art was awful or that I wouldn't be successful, even the suggestion that some areas are territorial and I would be too much competition. Really! Puleeeeeeze! There's enough out there for all of us.

I have a collection of quotes/advice I dig from often and don't know who to credit for the following. I do know those who came before me have summed it up beautifully...

"Many artists really believe only a limited number of artists can achieve success. Achieving success has nothing to do with beating out the competition through deception, lies, manipulation and viciousness. Artists who succeed have beaten out the competition through exercising powers of perseverance and discipline and by cultivating good marketing skills."

"Some artists have double standards: honesty , intellect, courage, discipline and integrity are their ruling principles, except when it comes to their art and careers. For some, it’s a you or me, dog-eat-dog mentality. These artists backstab, hoard information and have selective memories. They are fearful of ideas being stolen, competition, and losing the status quo. By this reasoning, to them every artist is a potential enemy/threat of competition."

"Those who let rationalization and paranoia rule their careers in order to avoid rejection, assuage insecurity, and fend off competition must face the fact that their careers can come to a screeching halt, limp along in agonizing frustration, or be limited in every possible sense. Eventually their work suffers (reflecting lies, excuses and fears) and their network of friends and contacts degenerates to the lowest common denominator, as they stop at nothing to eliminate what is perceived as a possible threat."

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice (Js. 3:16).

"Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak evil against you, they will be ashamed when they see you lead a good life. I Peter 3:16

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who hurt you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." Matthew 5:44 That's the hard one!

. . . enough said.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


And I thought oysters were a pain! Now I'm craving shrimp!

Check out the rest of  "the stuff" at !

Thursday, April 2, 2009

This Life I've Chosen - Part II

Or, "Speaking up for all Gypsy Artists" as I dance around my own to-do list! I appreciate a bargain like the next guy. I'm always willing to give discounts for cash cause I don't have to pay a fee for a cash deposit. I'm often flexible on my original pieces at outdoor shows since you are buying directly from me instead of a gallery. But if it's the first showing of that piece I've gotta give it a chance before tossing a big discount in there! This whirlygig adventure begins with spending many hours birthing a painting. Then I'm getting prints and matting or framing or packaging and packing it all up securely and lugging it to a destination show...rain or shine. A few hours after setting up a tent that will withstand the weather, followed by unpacking and arranging and hopefully putting my feet up a few minutes before "showtime" and we're ready for two to three days of feedback from serious collectors, browsers or dog walkers. Some even leave with art! I just hope to grab a few minutes to peruse the work of other artists. At the end of long day, exhaustion is an understatement. But, we get up and do it again the next day. And then we move in reverse. We take down the displays and pack them securely and dismantle the tent and praying it will all go back in the car, hoping you have less product to pack. Then hit the highway home and collapse - after unpacking the car, of course. Up bright and early the next morning (yeah, right) and post the charge transactions, pay the taxes and do the bookwork. Clean up the boxes you tossed stuff into cause you didn't have the energy to organize it and re-group for the next weekend show. And you feel guilty cause you can't find time to get another painting finished so you'll have fresh work at the next show, cause you've gotta take the time to repair the frame you dropped at the last show...not to mention getting the laundry done and the fridge stocked and...well, you know what mean. It's like being on a hamster wheel all the time. I remember when this was just a hobby! The kicker is....I love every backbreaking, belly aching minute of it!

Jazz Festival Weekend

The Jazz Festival in Pensacola is this weekend. It's at Seville Square Saturday and Sunday (April 4th and 5th). This is the first year for the art venue. Check it out! Groove with some jazzy sounds and eat some great food in downtown Pensacola!

Save the Bait Shop! Sign the Petition!

Next time you ride down to the Island, stop by Jemison's and sign the petition to keep them open. The powers-that-be say they won't renew Jemison's lease and even plan to cut it way short. This colorful bait & tackle shop is an iconic landmark for that area. It's been the livelihood of the Jemison family for years. Don't let 'em knock it down. Parks, boat launches and fishing piers can be built around it or somewhere else along that causeway.


This was a fun painting to do. I snapped this photo at the Beachcomber one late afternoon after boat riding on Dog River. This was Chandler's dinner. Glad I caught it before he slurped them all down!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Put Artwalk on your to-do list!

Today I hung at Cathedral Square Gallery, downtown Mobile. How cool....for me, anyway. My first Artwalk is next Friday. Come out and visit and I'll pour you a glass of wine! There are a lot of great pieces hanging at the gallery. You'll love it!
Yeah, Mikey! You're still here!!! ;-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

What a soggy mess! First day at the Festival of Flowers was wet, wet, wet. Thank goodness for the volunteers. They spread mulch all day in and in front of the tents. People were skipping my tent after they looked in and saw the three inches of water...."I'm not goin in there" is what I heard all morning! After arriving this morning and discovering an entire box of prints had filled with water, I just really needed to hear a lot of complaining! I even found myself actually apologizing for the water while I was removing tablecloths and easels and elevating everything. I had to bring all my original watercolors back home to dry out from the humidity. It all worked out for good though. We were all in the same boat. I met a lot of great people and received a lot of good feedback on my work. Had a few sales. Sketched a couple of pieces of nearby tents and flowers. Tomorrow I'm gonna have some help part of the day....not that it's gonna be busy cause of the torrential rains expected again. But if I get a break....maybe I can wander around and see what else is there. And I've just gotta try at least one of the gazillion flavors of TCBY in the booth behind me! And, I've gotta get to the Ace Hardware tent! They always have fabulous plants! Miracle of the feet stayed dry! Don't ask how....I dunno! Tired puppy! Goin to bed! Hope you all get a chance to come out to the festival between showers and visit! I'm sure Sunday we'll get slammed! Later!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why do you buy art?

af-ford-a-ble; uh-faur-duh-buhl; believed to be within one's financial means; reasonably priced.

Reflecting back, the first rules I made for myself was to learn as much as I could about, not only the art circuit but the craft itself. There's a lot of competition out there people. I'm still a long way from being "great" and I know it. Also, I want to keep my work affordable. Know that affordable doesn't mean cheap. I am a realist. I already give to charities and silent auctions and fundraisers. Besides, I've got overhead and that I have a business. The American dream...right?!

I've been told already that my originals are priced to low and that people see art as an investment and if it's perceived as cheap they won't buy it. In the first place I don't purchase art as an investment to include in a portfolio. I purchase art because I love it and know there is a place for it in my home, because it makes me smile or because it reminds me of something or someone. I personally think most people do the same .... if they can afford it.

I don't want to price my collectors out of opportunity to own an original piece of art. I read in an older journal that I didn't want to "ego price" my art. I've often gone to galleries or art festivals and seen pieces I'd love to own but couldn't touch them because of the prices. I'm just a common person who loves to collect other people's art. I decided to offer quality art at an affordable amount. I suppose that is my way of giving back. Sure I'll have to make price adjustments now and then because of cost of supplies and other expenses, but I will do my best to keep my original work affordable. I must be doing something right cause my originals are selling at a steady pace and I'm still paying the bills!!

This Life I've chosen ... Part I

For years I've attended outdoor art shows and admired artists of all genres. Considering how easy their lives seemed...charmed. Fantasizing about painting all day or sitting at the wheel making pottery or working whatever the craft may be. Trying to imagine the leisure. The creative ideas that give way to a flourishing existence of balance and serenity and a profitable art business ...... what a bunch of baloney ... as I've realized!

Well, let me clarify first that when it was a hobby, I painted between laundry, gardening, errands, cooking, vacuuming, and the 1002 other things we do to keep a home running. I felt balanced then. Really! I did. And maybe a little serene at times. I even had time to read. I didn't have an outlet at that time for my work though and it began piling up against the wall. I was encouraged by family, friends and even strangers to step out. So I gave the art show idea a try.

I was mentored in the beginning by another artist who advised me about packaging and applying to shows and artist's statements and dozens of other details. I prepared. My husband gave me a tent for Christmas! The decision was made right then! I had prints made and my girls helped me package them. I bought mesh walls for the tent and print bins and tables and made a sign that read "Terri Keller, Artist" with a crab on of my crabs. We arrived on site before daylight to set up. By the way, I think my husband could now put a tent up blindfolded! Until the show started, we twiddled our thumbs and I nervously rearranged things over and over. My oldest daughter worked that show with me. What a salesperson! I didn't touch money all day!

It was a lot of tired backs, aching feet and sunburned skin, but I had a blast! People liked my work. They even bought it! I was overwhelmed at that first show. By the end of the day I was in tears. Not because I was exhausted...though I was. People were giving me their money because they liked my paintings. Who knew?!! Two weeks later I did another show! I was hooked. And now approaching a year since that first show, I have a full spring schedule and I'm beginning to develop a presence in the area. Sometimes I feel like a micro-celebrity in my circle of friends, although knowing I have oodles of learning and growing to do keeps me humble. I'm not ego pricing .... yet!!!

More to come ... How not to give it away. How I maneuvered the judgment of others. Endless to-do lists.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pricing my Painting

Do I charge for how long it really took long it should have taken me...or how long I think someone else will think it should have taken me???

Do I charge for the five hours I sat there staring at the canvas in an unproductive stupor...or charge for the hour it took to actually get most of it on there?

Do I charge for the three versions I wiped off or the one that actually remains?

Do I count the tweaking time?

The staring at it wondering what needs tweaking time?

Do I add in the thinking about it when I should have been sleeping time?

What about the two hours I spent admiring the finished product during which time I made six crucial changes that took one second each to implement?

Do I charge just for the cost of the canvas and paint... or the time it took to comparison shop, order, uncrate, stack, organize, and prime it?

Oh, let's don't forget about the time it took to obtain the photo that I painted it from as I stood on the street corner waiting for the lighting to be right and then when it finally was glowing in the late afternoon sun four cars parked in front of it.

You know...There's a reason artists are starving.

Note: Credit for the above goes to Lorrie Drennan, artist. I saw it on her blog and really felt the message. I believe she credited the comic strip Cathy. Check out Lorrie's blog. Beautiful art work!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The White Dogs!

This is a watercolor of my granpuppies, Bayley and Skillet. I KNOW they are black dogs! My daughter's married name is White, hence the paintings' name. Couldn't resist! One day I'll do a painting of Maddy. My first granpuppy-beagle. She is such a sweet girl. When I do my first oil, it'll be of her!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Baby Addelyn Keller White

Meet my first grandchild! They tell us not to buy the size zero booties cause she has long, narrow feet. They all tell us she will be very tall, probably around 6' like her daddy! When Jen starts feeling her kicking she's gonna feel like a punchin' bag! She's due July 11th (day before my birthday) !!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Azalea Blooms!

Isn't this pretty?  My friend, Jennifer Fox Allen, and I got together for paint night.  She brought along a photo of an azalea.  She painted a beautiful rendition in oils. I borrowed the photo and did this one in watercolor. Turned out pretty good.  I like the dark contrasts from deep beneath the limbs on the bush while the background is somewhat out of focus.

5/09 Note: This piece was juried into the Mobile Art Association Spring Show and is hanging this month at the West Regional Library on Grelot Road along with some very impressive pieces and notable artists! Honored!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Great News!

Update on my mom! She had a transfusion this past Monday after two weeks. She had been having one or two a week for a while. This morning all her numbers were up and they have changed her blood work schedule from twice a week to once a week. She has a cold but the doctor isn't concerned about her ability to fight it off and he doesn't need to see her as often. That's great news considering a simple cold could have put her back in the hospital a while ago. Dr. C put her on a drug that bonds platelets and apparently it is causing her levels to climb.....or at least not die off so quickly. I don't know if sticky platelets is a good thing, but it's the lesser of the two evils right now. At least we're not worrying ourselves sick waiting on bad news. God is still in the miracle working business!!!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sixth Sense of Mine

Funny how things develop. I was just reading the blog of a fellow artist who explained perfectly the shift in perception I have experienced the last year. I drive around town or walk through the neighborhood and I focus on colors and imagine the names of the color in the pallette that God used to create that tree or sky or dog running ahead of me. Instead of yellows and reds I see ochre and cadmium red or alizarin crimson. I've become more observant of shadows and subtle color changes and the composition of nature. Parish wrote as follows,

"Remember the movie with the kid who had the line " I see dead people"? I took a walk on the beach one day after the class had ended and as I looked around at the sand and water and sky, that I'd seen thousands of times, something was different. I realized what all the rest of the painters in the world have already figured out. Its not sand, water or's color. And when I had this obvious epiphany the thought whispered in my mind, in the voice of that child of that movie " I see co...lor"."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Earl Grey Tea Time

I picked up a tea cup at the Warehouse Marketplace the other day while I was there hanging some new pieces of art. Nancy asked if I was gonna paint it. Surprise! This is a new technique for me. A little loose in acrylics. Not so tight with detail. Tomorrow I'll have a cup of Earl Grey in the little cup, but tonight I must sleep ... I hope!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stages of an acrylic, yet untitled

I tucked away this painting two years ago and pulled it out yesterday. After deepening the colors on the buildings and starting the process of laying down some roof tiles, I decided to chronicle the progress on my blog. Acrylics have taken a backseat to watercolor for a while but I'm up to the challenge!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I attended Jen's ultrasound this week. Amazing little 4" angel turning flips and kicking - putting on a show!!! 99% certainty we're having a grandaughter! Long feet and long legs like her dad! Due date changed to July 11th. Gramma's is July 12th! What a birthday present! Can't wait to start shopping! Confession: already bought two dresses and I've learned Tyler bought a 5-12 month sized red pea coat - just like mom's!! We are very excited about it. Unexpectedly, God, in His own timing, has given us a blessing from the trials of, what I called, their rebellious stage of marriage this past year, and I'm thrilled about it and walk in grace and trust Him to work it all out for good and bless them as they start their family. Who out there had a perfect marriage, especially the first few years? Who waited til all was in place and perfect before beginning families? Not I. We all have cobwebs in our closets and pains in our past. Focusing on the joy!

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's Solutions !


1. Walk. Eat better. Relax. Try new recipes and new foods.
2. Finish at least one great piece of art each month.
3. Walk thru daily. Put away. Don't bring more home!
4. Read. Pray. Meditate.
5. Paint. Get out there. Sell.
6. Phone calls. Notecards. Email.
7. Love. Forgive. Consider grace more often.
8. Drink more wine. Eat more chocolate.

That about does it!

Blog Archive