Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two favorites in one design

Two of my favorite things. A dragonfly and the color green. I found this wonderful pewter dragonfly and then at the same store (Michael's Arts and Crafts) I found this gorgeous green cubic zircon faceted drop.

Monday, December 08, 2008

My secret obsession

Sometimes when I'm not painting I bead. I love to bead jewelry and spend way too much money on beads. Its like an addiction. Michael's Craft Store in Columbia recently remodeled and they put the beads right by the front door so there is just no way to avoid having them call my name when I go in buy canvas and oils.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I've been tagged and he didn't even buy me dinner first!

My new good friend Bill Jones has tagged me. Obviously its his punishment for my not painting lately but the jokes on him, there's only one thing I love to do more than paint and that's write That's right! ( sorry couldn't resist).

So there are three the rules as I understand them.

#1 - You list a link to the artist who tagged you and that artist in turn sends you a thousand bucks and a few left over tootsie rolls. (Ha ha! Just kidding with you Bill)

But seriously, please do visit Bill at http://onpainting.wordpress.com/ where you will enjoy not only his art but also Lisa's. Both are phenomenal artists. In addition they will keep you laughing as they both have the funniest blog I've read in a while.

Rule #2 - Tell seven things about yourself that no one knows.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? If you've been a reader of my blogs for any length of time you already know all about me. But....here are a few extras in the spirit of the game. In no particular order...

1.) I have an obsession with boxes. I can't throw away a good sturdy well shaped box. I have actually thrown away a box only to go dig it out of the dumpster a little later. I can't help it, I always think I might need it someday...

2.) I was married for twenty five years to my first husband who was a cop, a sniper on the SWAT Team at one time..... Then I met Dana...he's a biker....go figure.

3.) I would give anything to spend all my time writing and painting but unfortunately I have a real job in order to pay the bills. My full time job is as a student advisor for Columbia's YouthBuild Program. A national program for "at risk" youth between the ages of 16 and 24. I truly love it and work for the best company (JobPoint) I have ever worked for in my life. I have a second part time job as a commercial custodian. (Now you know why I don't have a lot of time to paint)

4.) I grew up in a haunted house.

5.) I finished writing my first novel about three years ago but have yet to edit it. I have a full outline and several chapters of a second one stuffed in a drawer somewhere.

6.) I skipped third grade and consequently graduated in 1974 at 16 years old. As my year book proves I had a pretty good time in high school.

7.) When I get to Heaven if they aren't serving Enchiladas I'm not staying. And yes, I put chile on everything..well okay not on pancakes but even then I like Blue Corn Pancakes with Pinon.

Finally, Rule #3 - Tag seven other artist you admire. ( I admire so many that I had a hard time choosing so I just picked seven at random - all of them are wonderful artist as are the other s listed on my blogs)

Ron Morrison

Dee Sanchez

Todd Bonita

Rob Ijbema

Dusty Duck Tales

Christopher Greco

Grave Reflection

Thanks for visiting and I hope I entertained you for a little while.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"The Watering Can" (better photos)


I like these photos much better. They accurately portray how dark the darks are. This is a beautiful little 7x9 inch oil study of my favorite watering can full of flowers.
These two photos show the brushwork on the can - I really had a great time with this one.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just to let you know I'm still working...

"The Watering Can"

Guys this is a terrrrrrrible photo but I wanted to post it anyway just to prove I'm still painting (and to get Bill off my back - ha, love ya Bill).

Any advice out there for photographing paintings without a bunch of ritzy gizmos? I have a 4.0 Olympus Camedia Digital Camera. Normally I snap my photos outside - early morning - out of direct sunlight and that's been very productive. However, we have had cloudy weather for days now and I can't get an outside photo.

I'd love any tips you can share. But in the meantime, this will give you a suggestion of my newest painting. Oil on a 7x9 inch stretched canvas entitled "The Watering Can". This photo misrepresents the white lilacs, making them look more pale pinkish - violet. (Yeah right, run out and get a tube of that why don't cha?). But in person there is much more white in the lilacs. The background is also much much darker. A better transition from the back of the table to the distant wall....I just have to get you a better picture, then you'll get it. I'll keep trying -

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cinderella Pumpkin (for Bill)

SURPRISE! I finally found my way back into my studio...and yes, it felt very good.

Now don't laugh but I don't ever remember seeing this type of pumpkin any where but in a story book before now. My friends called it a Cinderella Pumpkin and they are beautiful.
Here's my beginning. A wash of Burnt Sienna and then a wipe out of my image. Then I went back in and darkened some areas with more Burnt Sienna.
I begin my darks - Sap Green with some Burnt Sienna. Its always at this stage that I feel like I have no talent what so ever and wonder what ever made me think I could paint. Does that ever happen to anyone else?


Finally my little 6x8 inch painting emerges and I am satisfied...well sort of...I'm one of those painters who can't find a stopping point. I need to hire some one to come in and physically remove me from the studio in order to not "Tickle" a painting to death. Is anyone else like that???

Its funny how I'm never really happy with a piece of work but sometimes I can be happy with bits and pieces. I absolutely love the stem and the that background....

I know, its almost time for the guys in the little white coat to come get me....

Thanks to all of you who have been so patient and encouraging - I love you guys!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hello Bill.....

...and you know who you are.....ha ha!
I apologize for my long absence and thank all of you who have kept in touch. I have not been feeling well and feeling pretty sorry for myself on top of that. Lately I have dragged myself to work and then home again to climb into bed, fall asleep and then wake up the next morning and start it all over again. And that has me feeling very blue...
One up beat thing though, last weekend I attended a wonderful wedding in a suburb of Detroit. On the way home we found our way to Lake Michigan. My first ever visit to the Great Lakes. It was unbelievable...
The weather was wonderful all weekend and I thought I'd share some of the photo's with you. And yes Gerald, I was uncomfortable with such a large body of water but still glad I saw it.
I promise I'll start painting soon....promise...really.....

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"Hollyhocks in the Alley" 11X14 oil on stretched canvas


I love this painting! I took dozens of photos but none of them told the whole story. The darks are not dark enough and the lights aren't photographing strong enough. This one comes closest.

The detail are much sharper in the painting.
Normally I photograph my paintings outside in order to get the most accurate picture. But it has rained all day and been too gray. I will wait a couple of days to see if the sun breaks through. If it does I'll try to take a better picture to list this on eBay.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Remember this?

Of course you do! Its the under painting that was on my easel when I gave you a tour of my studio a couple of days ago. Well, its finished and I hope to post it tomorrow afternoon.

By the way, I was being sarcastic when I asked if you remembered seeing it. You see the one side effect I have since my heart attack is a mild short term memory problem.

You see the one side effect....just kidding...

So last Friday I went to see my cardiologist to complain about feeling like a zombie and to negotiate with the devil to get him to adjust or, better yet, take me off some of this damn medicine I'm on. In the course of the conversation I mentioned this memory problem to him and asked if that's a side effect of the medicine and without missing a beat (and might I add with little emotions) he says to me "That just comes with being dead."

Excuse me? He repeats himself. "Cara. you were dead for over 30 minutes...we're lucky that's your only problem."

Is that not the greatest line ever? From now on that's going to be my answer to everything. "For the love of God man, I was dead for over thirty minutes...I can't possibly be expected to do laundry...or report to work on time...or balance my check book." Boy o' boy - I'm gonna get some mileage out of this one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Confession is good for the soul

This is what I do when I should be painting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Messy Studio Tour

Here are the two under paintings that are sitting up there calling my name..."Cara, we're lonesome, come work on us..."

Here's a photo and a memento of my attending a workshop with Ray Vinella
Another photo and memento of a workshop with Amado Pena Jr.
And now for the mess...

My work area..don't be scared...but you have had a tetanus shot haven't you?

My studio was a spare bedroom. The other side of the room had a treadmill and stacks of canvases, some blank and some not. But in this little tight space are my favorite things...my books, photos, important tidbits on my bulletin board (more photos and lots of jokes).

There, and now you know.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Full Moon

Just a little something to be able to say I was painting over the weekend. Actually, this started out as a way to use up a badly gessoed(sp?) canvas for practice and ending up being a neat experience in window frames.

Tomorrow if you promise not to call the health department I will show you what is on my easel as well as a peek at my studio.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sometimes the word "Talented" isn't big enough

Marble Trio by Jeff Hayes 2x2.5 inches
You read right - I did say 2x2.5 inches. I can't even sign my name in a space that small.

Knife, Wineglass and Peeled Lemon by Jeff Hayes is another true wonder that the mere word "talent" doesn't begin to describe.

The rendering of the glass with its etched design and the masterful highlights is pure poetry. The reflections, the shadows...my gosh, how does he do it?

And because I have no shame I have posted below my first attempt at painting glass as inspired by daily viewing Jeff's blog. Now, do yourself a favor and click on his name to enter his blog for a real feast for the eyes.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

By way of an apology...

Dear friends - Sorry, still no painting to post. I went back to work on July 1st and at the same time they changed some of my medicine so I have had a hard time doing much of anything. I promise, I'll get back to work soon but until then I thought I'd post the best 6 minutes of YouTube I've seen in a long time.

After all - they say laughter is good medicine.

Monday, June 30, 2008

It's a little wet out here!

This morning I happened to mention to Dana that being from New Mexico I had never seen a flood. So he took me for a short drive down Highway 24. I thought I 'd share these photo's from our drive just 40 miles west to Brunswick, MO.

Water approaching the road - still hasn't crested.
Pecan Orchard.
The river has risen over its banks and flooding parts of Brunswick, MO.
Railroad bridge normal very high above a small creek.
Flooded farmlands - this corn is between 4 and 5 feet tall when not covered with water.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gate with Yellow Iris


This 11x14 inch oil on stretched canvas is reflective of common scenes from home (yes I am still homesick). Massive adobe walls covered with wonderful stucco provide the framework for massive wooden gates. Weathered by time and the elements, the gates have so much personality. I have to confess and say that this particular gate is taken from a photograph I took of the old church in Truchas, NM.

Anyone who has ever been to New Mexico will understand that the adobe wall longs for the companionship of a hollyhock. And irises, well they are the true symbol of endurance in the rough dry landscape.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

Today was my birthday - I woke up thinking that I almost missed this one, but I didn't -
Today was a great birthday, I saw my Doctor and he says I'm doing great and I get to go back to work soon and I'm very happy about that.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

One more time...


I like this much better, and its much closer to the original chapel built by don Celso Baca to honor his mother. Although I couldn't determine an exact date that the chapel was build, Celso Baca is credited for founding Santa Rosa (New Mexico) after he settled int he area in the early 1860's. Unfortunately this little gem has succumbed to the elements. It's remaining walls can still be viewed on State Highway 91 that winds through Santa Rosa on it's way to Puerto de Luna.
This photo dates back to about 1930

Details of the brushstrokes used to render the church.
So, did I save it? I think so - I love it.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Moment's of Genius...but only moments

So I was working on this painting and thought I was nearing the finish line when I took a very good look at it.
Nope! No cigar!
I love the church. It was my moment of genius. My strong artistic moment. I also like the Poplar Trees. But that's it. So it will be back to the easel tomorrow to paint over the foreground. It's just wrong - not speaking the same language as the rest of the painting.
How does this happen to me? Do I get tired, too hot, hungry? Why do I have moments where it's all clicking and then it's like I just go brain dead -

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A tiny little exercise with surprise results -

This was an experiment on a little 4x5 inch canvas board. I painted the entire board that "cloud red" color and then worked backwards to cut the sky back in around it. Maybe you guys have been doing it that way all along but it was new to me. I loved the results. Its also the way I did the sky scape on my last painting of Nuestra de Senora Refugio, the one with the massive thunderhead cloud. Then I quickly blocked in some mesas to establish proportion. This was very quick and lots of fun.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

First trip back into the studio.


Click to Bid

Well, here it is....my first painting after my heart attack. A pale attempt but at least I did it. I climbed the stairs to my studio (with my Doctor's permission) and had to sit and rest for a while. I was too tired (maybe lazy) to find a picture to work from or worse yet set up a still life so I just dipped my brush and winged it...making it up as I went along.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

An Apple a Day

I had every intention of going back into the studio and doing some painting but was hit with a very sudden wave of exhaustion. So with your forgiveness I'll post an old study from the past.

I saw the doctor yesterday, they say I'm doing well on all my new meds - man, there are so many, it seems my entire day is made up of swallowing pills.

Its such a bizarre feeling to not have the control of your health and body that I always took for granted. After yesterday's doctor's visit I woke up this morning feeling good and thinking that today would be the day that my new life would really take off. A little over ambitious I guess, I was back in bed right after lunch.

I know my strength will return but I'm at an uncomfortable crossroads - I'm still too weak to do much but have recovered enough to be getting very bored.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This has been a very long week not including the 30 minutes I was clinically dead.

Some of you may be wondering where I have been. You're never going to believe this story.

I had to attend a job related conference in Rendondo Beach, Californian April 16th and 17th. As many of you know, I don't fly. It freaks me out. For the first year of my employment with my current company they accommodated my fear of flying. That ended last fall when they made me go to San Antonio. And now recently I had to fly into LAX.

The trip home was extremely stressful. We had to leave the conference during the afternoon break (2:45pm) in order to catch our flight to Denver where we would change planes. As we disembarked our first flight we heard them announce the final boarding call for our connecting flight. We were at gate 21 and the departing flight was at Gate 42 so with luggage in hand we hoofed it to catch the next plane and fly into Kansas City. We landed a little after 11 pm, looked for our vehicle in a dark deserted parking lot and finally got on the road about midnight where we would then begin our two + hour drive home in a rain and thunderstorm to C0lumbia. Stopping briefly to grab something to eat in Blue Springs as we had not eaten since lunch earlier that day. It was well after 3am when we arrived in Columbia and I still had a 45 minute drive home to Moberly. I got into bed at 4:15am and had settled in just in time for our 5.2 earthquake at 4:35am.

This brings me up to 4:35 Friday morning. I didn't go back into work that Friday although I had been told that I was expected but could wait until noon since I had "a late night".

Now here's where it gets interesting....

Saturday (April 19th) evening about 6pm I was sitting here at my desk and working at my computer when all of a sudden it felt like someone had sat a cinder block on my chest. No pain, no sweating, no racing heartbeat - just as this strange sensation of weight. I went outside and told Dana that I thought I needed to go to the hospital...

We got to the emergency room and although it was Saturday night there wasn't anyone in the waiting room. I walked right in, went through the triage where they add insult to injury by weighing you , and was put in a gown and sat on a bed. Dana sat down in the chair along the wall. The doctor came in and introduced himself to me and asked me to sit forward so he listen to my heart and lungs. When I did I said, "wow - I'm having a really bad dizzy spell." And that was it!

The next thing I was aware of was waking up in Columbia Missouri, tied to a bed on a ventilator. I could hear people around me talking and saying I was waking up and Dana came to my side and asked me if I knew where I was? I shook my head no and he proceeded to tell me that I had suffered massive heart failure.

I don't remember anything significant here's what I have been told. Although the signs started at home, it was when I sat up and complained of a dizzy spell my heart had stopped. They doctor told me that I has "dead" for over thirty minutes. They did constant CPR , and I have the broken ribs to prove it, shocked me with the paddles three times and still couldn't bring me back. Dana had left the room to give them all space to work in , he tells me there were over a dozen people in that room trying to keep me alive. The doctor gave up and sent the nurse to bring Dana in to say goodbye and they tell me that although it defies reason, the minutes he stepped into the room and I heard his voice a nurse yelled out, "WE'VE GOT A PULSE!"

After being stabilized I was air - lifted to Boone Hospital Center in Columbia where by the time Dana and twenty or so other friends and family arrived I was undergoing surgery to have a stent inserted to repair an artery that was 85% blocked.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I'm doing well, moving slow, lots of pain from the CPR but it beats the alternative. The doctor says I can't do anything for several weeks and then I can begin Cardio - Rehab. Back to work way down the road, way down. Doctor "Cutie Patootie" (he really is) says it will be six months to a year before I'm completely done with my recovery.

Now to answer the $64K question. No, I didn't see a light. And thanks to God my heart stopped in the hospital so I never had a drop in circulation consequently there is no brain damage (that was the phrase that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up). And no, I didn't see Andrew - its a good thing, I would have stayed.

I told someone recently that my heart quit beating 18 months ago, it just had to have a heart attack and die for anyone to notice. For the last 18 months I have repeatedly said I wanted to go and be with Andrew, but when my time came....I didn't go.....

I will spend the rest of my life figuring out why. I know this is that life changing moment that everyone talks about, or one of many in my case. But you know as well as I do that I have some work to do now.

Recovery work, spiritual work and creative work. My clock stopped ticking and someone hit the snooze button and got me some more time. But its no time to sleep - there's work to be done.