This particular summer scene was captured a couple of Augusts ago in western Montana. On our way home from Minnesota, we took a little detour to drive through Glacier Nat'l Park, and this is on the lovely drive up from Great Falls to Glacier. Stunning, of course.
So, I took this shot from one of my absolute favorite spots in the world, - seriously, if I could see the whole world from the shotgun position of our Impala, I would. lol. ;)
I happen to be a proud parent of the world's three loudest ninjas.
A proper demonstration of their technique is best seen in our local grocery store. They leap out from behind produce stands, they karate chop the produce scales, they disappear down unknown aisles in a flash, - I mean, serious ninja stuff. And, all the while, providing abundant sound effects for each ninja move. Oh, the sounds effects. At least I can always hear them, even if I can't see them. :)
The two ninjas seen here are the strong, silent type, - although, the one on the left seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis. His hands don't match, and, my eight-year-old informed me that the body actually belongs to 'the emperor's soldier that fights pirates'. He really should just be thankful he has all his parts - most of the Lego dudes around here are just not that lucky.
I bought these little treasures at a yard sale up my street and I think they're so cool. I mean, miniature anything is cool, right? The box had about twenty-five of these four-inch pins, and all but one used to belong to a woman named Ina.
I have no idea who 'Ina' is, but these little pins commemorate her annual high scores for more than two decades. She bowled with the 'Classy Lassies' and 'Hits & Misses' in the late sixties, and from the seventies until the early nineties, she bowled in the 'Wednesday Mourners Bowling League'. (I know, sad, right?)
Well, ok, when you live in the middle of a town, that's sort of impossible, but, my little family has been all together for three days now, and it's been really, really sweet. Mostly. ;) We walked to the store yesterday, mainly because I had a cabin-fever urge to do a puzzle and we don't own one with more than twenty-five pieces. It's been years, - decades, I'm sure, since I've wanted to do such a thing. It was just as satisfying as I'd hoped. :)
In between all the family bonding, I got to sneak in a little painting.
I attempted this scene several times last fall and just couldn't let it beat me. This time, - much better. :)
Oh, also, - great news - my painting, 'Retired' , was a judges pick in the Daily Paintworks monthly contest for January!
You can see all the January winners and entries here.
As a judges pick, I have free membership for the month of February, and all the paintings I post will be showed near the top of the page with the other featured artists. If you haven't entered their monthly contests yet, go for it! There are cash prizes for the top three, and, you don't have to be a Daily Paintworks member to enter.
This isn't perfect or anything, but it was just fun, from start to finish.
So many of my recent attempts have turned into overworked failures, and while I think it's probably necessary (and ultimately helpful? maybe?) to go through seasons like that, it is so not a good time!
Makes a girl think about throwing in the towel. A lot! :)
Anyway, a day like today was much needed and much appreciated. :)
I really love this sunny little scene from Long Beach, Washington. I'm not feeling particularly nostalgic or anything, it's just the architecture and the lines of these things - an old gas station just makes me swoon. Lol!
Yup, put two sad little months together - they're happier that way. ;)
Yeah, not a lot going on in my painting corner recently, but I'm SO ready for that to change. I've got a bad case of the winter blahs and it's time to snap out of it. Let's do this, February! :)
Oh, and go 'Hawks! My eight-year-old super-fan broke his arm the night before the super bowl so we were extra happy when the Seahawks won - there's no questioning the colors he'll choose when he gets his cast later this week. :)
Gleaning inspiration from the things around me, I stacked a few books the other day. 'Goodnight Moon', 'The Tower Treasure' (Hardy Boys), 'The Complete Adventures of Curious George', and Richard Scarry's 'Best Picture Dictionary Ever'.
I love how certain images from books trigger memories from childhood - much like how smells bring one back. Curious George flooding the house while trying to clean up his ink mess always reminds me of my grandparents' house, and the watermelon-filled trucks and pickle-shaped cars of Richard Scarry bring me right back to the library from my elementary school.
Hey all! It's a New Year, and I'm finally ready for it!
Our 2013 ended in such a sweet, quiet, way and it was just what I needed after a year with some major stresses. Thank you, Lord. :)
Even though I have sworn off winter road trips in the past (more than once!) - we packed up the car and headed across country to see my parents and other family and friends in Minnesota. The drive went very smoothly both ways, and catching up with family and friends was really, really great. It was just so cozy and mellow inside, and frigid and beautiful outside. :)
Of course, while we were there, I took the opportunity to capture as many reference photos as possible. Here's one of my favorites; the Farmall H, a lovely old tractor which put in many years on the family farm. I can't get enough of those lines - the seat-spring, the steering wheel, that light; - love it. You may see this one again. :)
This paper star ornament/decoration is called a 'Finnish Star' all over the internet, but I've no idea where its true origins lie. Wherever it comes from, it's a fun little craft to make, and to paint. :)
(This painting will be ready to ship after Jan. 1, 2014.)
Whew! I was starting to think I wouldn't get any more painting in this year... but, I finally made a little time. Merry Christmas to me. :)
And, no more stressing about it - after a little self-lecture, I've given myself a break. It's time to savor the season and I can't wait. :)
This little scene is from a few weeks back. A stretch of record-setting cold turned our evergreen landscape to frosty white for days and days. The hard, crunchy ground and frosted-over cars seemed weird and perfectly normal all at the same time.
This is early morning, the rising sun lighting up the frosty dikelands of the Columbia River.
Oh, and there's still time to get a calendar before Christmas...just go to the tab at the top of the page.
My two-year-old likes to hang out with me while I paint, and I often ask if he can tell what I'm painting. He gives some great constructive criticism. ;)
Anyway, I don't recall ever talking about water towers with him, but apparently someone has, because his response today was, "Um, a water house?" Love that little rascal. :)
I snapped this evening scene last summer on the Columbia River dikelands, and even though I've pondered it countless times since then, I was just too chicken to attempt painting it. Well, today was the day, and I'm so glad I waited. Something clicked that hasn't been lately, and it was pure fun.
This feels very different for me (thus making me more nervous than normal about posting), but the in-house critic approves, so here it is. :)
You know I love me some saturated color, but I've lately been on the hunt for a way to capture the amazing morning fog that we experience in the fall and winter months. (Who am I kidding, it can be foggy year-round in these parts.) Anyway, the fog and sun combo this morning was great, so after dropping the oldest off at school, the younger two and I took a little photo-seeking tour of the neighborhood. I almost always head to the dikelands of the Columbia River, partly because it's the only flat land around here and it reminds me of home, and mostly because the way the sun spreads across the marshes and canals with the ridges and foothills rising in the distance; well, it can be pretty stunning.
So, pretty as all that was, the highlight of our little jaunt was easily the sight of these beautiful bald eagles. Two! I've seen lone bald eagles several times in my life, but I don't ever recall seeing two at once! It was cool.
Now I better go clean up before the door knockers start coming, -- my seven-year- old suggested we just block the view of the mess with our bodies when we answer the door. I better go put on my mattress costume. ;)
I took my oldest boy to our dentist last week, and after his appointment we took advantage of the crazy-awesome weather and spent a few minutes by Lake Sacajawea, easily the prettiest spot in Longview, WA.
The lake is surrounded by elm trees which are gorgeous year-round, but, now, when they are absolutely lit from within -- amazing. I took a bunch of photos under the warm, glowing canopy, and I've tried desperately to translate a number of them in paint since then. SO hard!
This is attempt number four, and I think I finally have one that I'm happy with. Or, I'm just exhausted and never want to see a turned leaf again. ;)
We thoroughly enjoyed a warm, sunny weekend, and this little fella (along with numerous other trip-hazards) got a chance to dry off and move around a bit, thanks to my boys and their cousins. Isn't it the best when great weather coincides with the weekend?
I took advantage of the beautiful sun and snapped some shots of the retro-style Radio Flyer in all his red, white and rusted chrome glory. So many great lines and I love the way the shadows fall on the white-walled tires and spokes. This one just makes me smile. :)
This sunny little scene was captured a year ago here in our small town, and we're enjoying similar weather today. A welcome change from the ginormous amounts of rain we've had recently. :)
I tried painting this several times last year, but it was sort of a nightmare. :) Now that I know the joy of painting on a black ground, this sort of scene works so much better. I'm kinda lovin' it.
Photographing it, though, - well, that was not as much fun. Those purply tree shadows just get waaay too blue and glow-in-the-dark for some reason, but with the magic of photo editing (completely accidental 'let's try this' kind of editing) I got them to look very close to reality. Whew!
Oh, also, Blogger has decided that all photos need a little extra saturation, so the image is actually a tad more accurate on Daily Paintworks and my Facebook page. That is, according to my monitor. Ha!
Now that I've spent nearly as much time on the photo editing as I did on the painting itself...tgif!
I've been in a bit of a painting rut -- I had a really great start on one at the end of last week, but I couldn't get it to come together. So, I tried again on Sunday. And Tuesday. And today. Guess what! It still won't work!
Reminds me of that Einstein - attributed quote about the definition of insanity. Not Einstein, by the way. As Abraham Lincoln once said, 'The problem with internet quotes is that you can't always verify their accuracy.' ;)
Anyway, all that to say, I (finally) wisely moved on to something else.
I love these old jars and took a different approach with them today - it felt good to stretch in a new direction. And, my rut feels like it might be getting a little shallower. :)