Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Wishes

It's Christmas night here...people around the world have enjoyed togetherness, presents, meals and I pray, lots of "love & laughter" over the past few hours. After the wrappings have been cleared a bit, and the leftovers dealt with, and friends have shared hugs, one settles down cozily to dream of the future year and its possibilities.
Looking forward, I have a second grandchild on the way in June, and a brand new building for our high school to move into, and lots of family & friends to keep track of...but my mind always returns to those who may not have...

On Christmas Eve, I slowly browsed amongst the hurried crowds who were driving too fast, scurrying to the stores and looking for that last item to complete their list. I noticed that some were standing in a checkout line of twenty people to get that important something. Others were having fender-benders and talking to police officers.
I kept thinking about my July trip to Honduras during all of this, and especially about those children we served at the orphanage. I wondered what was on their Christmas list? I thought about scenes from our travels, like the man moving a herd of cows across the road to feed, or the mother cooking corn on the roadside with a make-shift grill so she could make some money. I thought about the two little boys who were carrying the family's water supply to their humble dwelling. What would be on their Christmas list?
But on Christmas Eve, I walked out of a popular over-priced store that I once loved to window-shop in. I would usually look over ~and lust after~ the color and textures and richness and tell myself that someday I would be able to purchase those luxurious trinkets. But this year, I walked out after a few moments, my mind filled with those children's faces...

Yes, my perspective has certainly changed.
About consumerism.
About assigning value to what is around us.
About allowing someone in an advertisement to dictate what should be important to me.
Why should they be able to tell me what to wear?
What to drive?
What my home should look like?
What to need?
Just because they want my hard-earned money.
Who has the right to do that?
I detest the thought of a stranger telling me what to do, so I will not allow an ad agency to tell me what to wear, drive, live in, or anything else.
I will no longer play the game.

I decide what will be of value to me in this short life:
my relationships ...with the Holy Trinity, with people near & far, and as a far second, with this planet...

And what about objects? They serve one purpose or another. But I get to decide which purposes I value, too.
My money? I work hard to earn it. I will decide how to use it for good.
Because money & objects should serve me. Not the other way around. Ever.

You may remind me that I'm an artist, and I create objects all the time. True.
But if my house was on fire, I would not be running to save my paintings. You see, I don't worship art. I love it. It makes me extremely happy. But I don't worship it.
I would regret their loss, but I can always paint better paintings in the future.

Life is short, so I've learned to value the parts of life that can't be replaced. Like laughing with orphaned children who are communicating with me through art-making. Like the feel of my husband's hand holding mine. Like having my one-year-old grandson walk into my arms for the first time last week. Like reading the sweet comment of a blog-reader whom I've never met. Like so many people who have crossed my path and left a footprint on my heart. Because that's where the actual celebration of Christ's birth really takes place...the heart.

So my Christmas wish for you is that...
In 2010, may your heart be filled with
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BRB !

I want to post my latest paintings. I really do.

In case you didn't know...I'm a public school teacher. And it's three days before Christmas Vacation...

(Yes, an art teacher. I have 150 clay ornaments glaze-firing in a school kiln as I type this.)

(Any Prayer Warriors out there wanna take a moment for me? ...Thank you...)
Christians have memorialized Good Friday before Easter Sunday; perhaps school teachers could celebrate the last day of school before Christmas as "Merciful Friday"...or "Blessed Friday"...because God carried us through until the end...

On Friday, December 18th at 3:40pm EST, if you hear screaming whoops of celebration coming from the east coast, that'll be me.


'nuff said.

Love & Laughter, (et tempus fugit)
DJ

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Year One in Blogland


"Paisley Heart" Acrylic on Wood by DJ 2007
This blog was begun one year ago on November 28, 2008. During this season of gratitude, I can say I'm sincerely thankful for your visits here. It has been an outlet to display my artwork and feel like someone sees me in the role of artist as well as teacher. Thank you for being so gracious in your comments on my paintings & drawing lessons. And even though anonymity is a requirement for me right now, I've connected with many lovely people out there who are supportive and so giving in their creativity. I've enjoyed sharing some of my art and getting to visit your blogs to take a peek into your lives and artwork these past twelve months.
Thank you for sharing your beauty.
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Escape to a Fantasy Land of Imagination & Skill

Last Saturday night, the 21st of November, I saw it! My husband & I went to see "Cirque du Soleil: Alegria"...
Wow...I had seen them only on television, but a live performance? Stunning.
The colorful stage was shaped and lit up like a fairyland, but as the show progressed, the high-tech changeability of the curved flooring to a totally different surface left you wondering, "How did they do that?"
The musicians introduced the show by wandering through the audience, playing instruments in costume before taking their places on stage, so they were a part of the show, not separately placed in an invisible pit somewhere.
The singers had beautiful etheral voices that took me away from everything earth-bound.
The performers were in colorful costumes that were inspired & imaginative artistry. The shapes and forms would leave any artist in the audience drooling to design something with such color and textures.
I gasped at the acrobatic acts, which were precise and varied, including fire-handlers and synchonized contortionists. The trapeze artists were amazingly strong and daring in their movements. The equipment handlers and the performers had worked together to ensure trust, so I could concentrate on the beauty of the movements, rather than worry about their safety.
And, of course, the clowns were engaging and when they pulled audience members onstage, it was hilariously entertaining. They chose simple positive themes that everyone could relate to and performed them with joy and precision.
The lighting was imaginative and the colorful pageantry was playful. The audience was taken to a faraway place in which I was seven years old again and exploring a new world of wonder & delight.
The audience responded with cheers and laughter, then ended the night with a long standing ovation of appreciation for all the hard work that went into such a dramatic show. The many performers returned to take several bows and responded to us as well with smiles and waves...
If you've not seen Cirque du Soleil, please make every effort to experience it. If you have seen a performance, please tell me about it below in comments; I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Autumn in the Studio

Thesis: I do NOT like Fall for several reasons, and this Fall season has been crazy-busy and nothing even close to resembling fun has occurred.
Except...
my studio life has been more active lately
and my prayer life has been kickin' some satanic rear-end, lemme tell ya...
and my son got to come home for a week after being on duty for seven months
and hearing from former students thanking me that they learned something in my classes when their college profs ask them to perform in an art class...
and talking to friends...and loving my husband...
and
(drum roll please)
having a restaurant that serves sushi open up in my little corner of the world! Woohoo! Yeah, baby.

OK,OK...I can't be negative, much to my chagrin.
I'm too blessed to be stressed
and too anointed to be disappointed!

Just One Example:
I was in my studio Saturday November 14, 2009. I was NOT in the zone for painting, but needed to mush some paint around to center myself and feel better about life. Note: Mushing paint does that for you, if you didn't know.
I pulled out a cheap canvas, secured it on my easel, and picked up a palette knife. I turned on the radio, and thought about a color selection for two seconds. Tube in hand, I squeezed out a bit o' color onto my palette knife and swiped the color across the canvas.
Simultaneously, it happened: There was a flash of awareness...
God had swiped his hand across the void in the beginning. He "told" me: "See how I felt when I first created the world? The joy you are feeling is just a tiny speck of what I felt. Think about it."
I was overwhelmed and closed my eyes to "see" what He was saying.
I fell to my knees and sat at the foot of my easel, palette knife and paint tube still in hand. I could see intense golden light and the green earth unfold...His joy was so immense and powerful, I could only take it in glimpses and moments...the trees, meadows, moutains...creatures of the land and air...the depths of the seas...the living bounty and life and golden light that sprang from His voice was too beautiful to view with a dry eye...
I praised Him with my tears, since I couldn't speak.
I always knew that God created the world. It's too organized and varied for anything else. But I had never thought about his JOY while creating!
If we puny human artists get a smile from making a silly little painting, then the First Creator was so powerfully joyful while creating a place for us, that an entire universe became a limitless display of variety and energy and life.
God was JOYFUL when He created, just like we are.
So, to remember that vision of joy, I continued that initial swipe that brought me to my knees and joyfully danced my way into a simple painting of God splitting the darkness with light. My palette knife strokes don't begin to capture the majesty, but my heart feels a small joy, maybe like on the First Day.
May He be glorified.

"Let There Be Light" oil on 16x20 canvas by DJ, hanging out with The Alpha & Omega

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Latest Paintings


"Shelter" Oil on 16x20" canvas by DJ

"Orange Shelter" Oil on 20x16" canvas by DJ

"Green Spirit" Oil on 20x16" canvas by DJ

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Palette Knife Thread to the Rescue


Vertical Violet Sky 14x11 Oil on canvas by DJ

Life happens, and when it does, I go through myriad moods in reaction to stress. I'm sure you all have your act together, and don't experience any life stressors. :-)
As you know so well, in an online group, we call a conversation a "thread". I feel I'm having psychological conversations with my paintings these days, so I'm tempted to call them "threads" in lieu of "series."
I have three painting "threads" that I'm working on right now. The palette knife landscape conversation gives me the most relief from stress, so I've posted the next one in that particular thread above.
No matter what life hands me, when I get back into the studio, my equlibrium returns and joy enters the heart. I remember why I was made, and that I should share that joy with my beloved students and the few blog readers I have, hold, & cherish.
Yes, that would be you, my friend.
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Here's My Rainbow from Spacefem...

Your rainbow is strongly shaded violet.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What is says about you: You are a creative person. You appreciate beauty and craftsmanship. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Spectator Paintings

Tuesday 9-8-09 Spectator I
Wednesday 9-9-09 Spectator II
Palette knife wielded in a different direction, with muted colors. Thinking of a tennis match audience and the possible whimsy found there...

Spectator I Oil on 20x16" canvas by DJ


Spectator II Oil on 20x16" canvas by DJ

Monday, September 7, 2009

Last Week's Non-Serious Mushing

I'm going back to an earlier developmental stage that I missed, and playing in paint. Just having fun mushing paint around, so I can get it out of my system.
The last week of August, I managed one small painting experiment on a night I was really out of the zone. Ever had one of those nights? :-)

Fir Trees in Mountains 8x10" Oil on canvas by DJ

Wednesday, September 2, 2009 was a night for mushing paint around. Don't worry; I'm just playing...

Purple Yellow 3-D 8x10" Oil on canvas by DJ


Mushing Green 1 8x10" Oil on canvas by DJ


Mush n Scratch 1 10x8" Oil on canvas by DJ


Backwards J Abstract 14x11" Oil on canvas by DJ

The last is a workover of the previously posted "Color Chart Shadows". I need to get some mushing out of my system, so I can progress to a place I'll enjoy.
I repeat: Don't worry; I'm just playing...
And having fun.
Please have fun at whatever you undertake. Life is short.
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Quiet Friday Evening


The first week of a new school year has just been completed, and after some adjustments in my attitude & approach, I experienced a productive Friday in my art classroom. Being a public school teacher has its victories and defeats; I survive to fight another day. Sorry, my warrior archetype surfaces to don her cape quite often these days...the battle against ignorance is ongoing, is it not?
Last week, I put a little concoction together when my husband had a business dinner obligation elsewhere. It involves Polska Kielbasa and an off-the-shelf Alfredo sauce. Add some green onions and bell pepper for color & crunch over angel hair pasta. It took minutes to brown the sausage and boil the pasta, then I poured the cheese over the pasta, and voila~
Just a little something to consider for a change of pace after a couple of hours in the studio or classroom. Enjoy.
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Driven to Distraction or Abstraction?


Bless the Rains in Africa 28x40 Oil on Canvas by DJ
Color Chart Shadows 14x11 Oil on Canvas by DJ

Green Lake Memories 14x11 Oil on Canvas by DJ

Limestone Mountains Two Panels of 11x14 Oil on Canvas by DJ

After having been out of the studio for several weeks due to the Honduras trip and the recovery afterwards, I jumped into some oils with both feet -um, hands - this past Saturday, August 8th.
(And yes, I'll post regarding the trip, as soon as I get some pics to accompany the stories. The experience was awesome, as you can imagine.)
Above are five paintings I threw onto canvas with palette knife, fingers, and a few brushes. The Limestone Mountains are actually two canvases that I stacked on the easel, and worked on simultaneously as one. They also work side by side.
Any of these may get worked over eventually...more gutting it out, as below.
Feedback, please. Negative & positive comments welcome.
Below.
Yeah. I'm talking to you. :-)
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm Gonna Need a Big Suitcase ~ Maybe Two...

Well, dear readers, I'm off on another adventure. This time it's a mission trip to Honduras to minister to children and love them through the fun of making art. I'll be gone from Sat, July 18th until Mon, July 27th, and will update you when I return.
Please pray for me as I make some attempts to share His love and laughter with the children of Honduras...and pray that I don't bring a couple of those precious orphaned kids home with me in my suitcase...hmmm...not a bad idea...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's Re-Post Day!

Since it's a day for reposting an oldy-but-goody, I thought my first would do...it's from November 2008, when I started my blog.
Enjoy...

Perfection or Completeness...



Sometimes, in an artist's life, perfection rears its ugly head.
It appears to most of us at one time or another in our lives, and to an artist, it can be just as paralyzing. Some of us refer to it as the "P" word...It keeps us from accomplishing anything, before we even begin. The whispering spectre of our Inner Critic convinces us that if we aren't going to do things without blemish, then those endeavors are worthless: "Why try? What will others think? Someone will point out that mistake or omission, and what will you say? Stick to what you do well, so you won't look foolish..."The whispers continue endlessly, don't they?
Until you leave the easel, the studio, walk away from the worktable, the music, the sewing machine, put the pen down. Sometimes, you feel that's the only way to shut up the voices?
It isn't.
There are things you can do to quiet the doubts and fears, so you can find joy in creating. Try talking back. Tell your Inner Critic to check out your past successes. Tell your IC that you're going to just slop some paint around, or play imperfect music, or write some bad poems, just for the moment.
You're not going to show it to anyone, so that's not a problem. It's just for your pleasure, so it doesn't have to be scrutinized. Pick up that brush, pen, or needle and fool your IC into quieting down by not wanting perfection, but COMPLETENESS. You want to do one project to its completion. Period. It doesn't have to be Tchaikovsky or Renoir or Wang. You just want to finish it.
When you finish it, DON'T tweak it, don't make adjustments, quit FIDDLING with it!
Hang it on your wall.
Hang the sewn pocketbook. The essay. The score you composed. Frame it in a store-bought frame.
Quick! Do it now. On the wall it goes. Put your name on it.
You did it.
Now, how are you going to celebrate? Your favorite cuppa something? A nap to view your work as you doze off? A walk through a park with your head up and a smile on your face? Maybe some new supplies for your next imperfect project?
Now, you're complete.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Gutting It Out

"Mountainside Storm" by DJ oil painting on mat board 24x16

Detail

Detail

Detail

Detail

There is a conclusion that all creatives need to reach at some point. Some of us get there slowly, feeling our way through the maze. Some of us know it intuitively, arriving faster, and getting on with it.
What conclusion?
The knowledge that, no matter how many books you read, no matter how many classes you take, no matter how much research you do, no matter how many motivators or creative coaches you listen to,
there comes a POINT when you have to DRAG YOUR SORRY CARCASS INTO THE STUDIO and
just GUT IT OUT.
You have to actually put the pen to paper. Turn on the music and take the dance step. Focus the camera and click. Or put paint on the palette and slap it onto the canvas.
You have to wrestle with your mistakes, face your truths, and scrape off the paint, paint over the lessons learned, and do it again.
>Warning: Severe weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth may occur during this process.<
You have to make crappy paintings and do some little nothing pieces, over and over and over....to get to the good stuff.
The stuff that you actually want to do. For yourself.
So, yeh, I'm struggling just to get into the studio for an hour. And, it shows.
But you know what? I'm still fighting. I'm gutting it out.
Last night, I wrote a brief artist statement for Summer 2009. Then I read an artist statement from Summer 2008. BIG DIFFERENCE.
It's called growth.
Yay for guts.
Now, Go make something.
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Monday, June 22, 2009

Awesomely Super Art Swap!


There is much excitement at Coach Creative Space due to the arrivals of the Summerlicious ATC Swap treasures. I had so much fun hosting this ATC Swap, and you can see why in this discussion thread where the lovelies are displayed. There were twenty swappers who created yummy visions of summer loveliness for fellow CCSers. I love the individual interpretation of the summer theme, and the variety of media used to create the art. Please consider joining us for the next swap.
CCS was begun by the awesomely sensitive and effective creativity coach, Dan Goodwin, and is an encouraging environment for beginners as well as experienced artists, writers, musicians, dramatists, dancers, seamstresses, sculptors, and creatives of all media. Many of the members have found this community non-competitive, loving,and accepting, meeting friends around the world with similar interests. The groups there give you the opportunity to share your work without fear of criticism or rejection.
Most members, including myself, report that their creative production rate has increased exponentially, they find themselves exhibiting or being published, and creative blocks have disappeared since joining Coach Creative Space. I know:I'm one of them! Click here to visit my CCS page and view videos, photos of my sketchbooks, CCS blog entries, and more.
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Monday, June 15, 2009

In Just a While...




Readers, I have to go out of town on business for the rest of the week. Don't think I'll have internet access. Withdrawal symptoms already setting in...
See you soon with more art and stuff. Keep creating, writing, and being wonderful.
Above are some journal pages. Below are a couple of snaps of a miniature wire chair created at a workshop a couple of years ago.
Have a great week!
DJ

Sunday, June 14, 2009

An Awesome Read...

I was visiting the new blog of my fellow CCSer, Jo, which is named "Gathering Wild" and enjoyed her poignant sharing of an important relationship honored by a box of crayons. Well written and worth a visit. Enjoy the scent of an old and new box of crayons...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

PJ's Giveaway!

The talented Folk Artist, PJ Hornberger, over at PJ's Talking is having a One Year Blogging Anniversary Giveaway on June 29th! She's giving away your choice of a print of her lovely folk art OR a workshop on her Ning Group, PJ's Art House. You can comment here to enter the giveaway of this sweet lady who does beautiful and whimsical art work as well as generous video instruction. Check it out!

Monday, June 8, 2009

End of Week One & "Weak Too"...LOL!


^~Palette Knife Landscape V by DJ 16x20 Oil on Canvas May 2009
Hi, Kids!
Above is the result of the final hours of my five hours in Week One.
A departure from the ocean shores of the first four, yes. In content and technique. More impasto and complementary underpainting, to boot.
Weak Too accomplishments?
You guessed it: Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Lemme spell it out for you:
The. Last. Week. of. School. Before. Summer. Break.
Now you know. Exams. Drama. Pleading. Picking up portfolios. Cleaning. Sheesh.
But, hey, it's officially Summer! Time to paint. Time to breathe. Time to have the luxury of choices.
Whee.
Hey, did you see what my adorable DH did in "comments" for the last post? Gotta love a man like that...We just celebrated our 8th Anniversary...Prolly contributed to my not getting into the studio, also, if the truth be told...LOL!
Happy Summer, Everyone! Grab that paintbrush! Dip it in paint! Apply to surface!
There you go!
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Week One of the Studio Challenge...WHEE!

V~Palette Knife Landscape I by DJ 16x20 Oil on Canvas May 2009

V~Palette Knife Landscape II by DJ 16x20 Oil on Mat Board May 2009

V~Palette Knife Landscape III by DJ 16x20 Oil on Canvas May 2009

V~Palette Knife Landscape IV by DJ 16x20 Oil on Canvas May 2009


I'm happy: I'm painting.
The first palette knife painting was done on a Monday night two weeks before this Studio Challenge, and Monday night, May 25th, I started painting a second palette knife landscape that's turned into a series.
So, it's apparent that Monday nights are high energy level nights for me. I'm rested from the weekend, and not too bogged down in the brain with work responsibilities. Yay. So, look for those times when you're high energy for best productivity in the studio or at the work table.
I made an adjustment to the first painting, and may make adjustments to the more recent paintings posted here. Taking photos enables you to see color and value relationships a bit more objectively, but beware that cameras may pick up on a certain hue group and tint your composition. I have two other photos: a blue version of the first painting, and a green version of the same. My relatively inexpensive camera "read" the overall hue and that's what it saved. So, when photographing your work, check on this.
All of these paintings were done with a palette knife in oils on either canvas or mat board. There were no preliminary sketches done, so all compositions were rendered as work progressed. There were no photographic references; just the making of landscapes that derived from my imagination. Decision-making can be fun when you're in a work zone of applying paint in a physical movement that makes you happy.
For example, it took me thirty minutes to apply the sky in painting 2. I was having a great time listening to music and swiping that palette knife across the canvas. Getting those smooth gradations with a palette knife is not as easy as it may look to the untrained eye. But it's fun for some of us art nerds who have oil paint under our nails. Paintings 2 & 3 were done in about an hour 1/2, and painting 4 was done in about an hour. So, that's two 1/2 hours of studio time I have left for this weekend! Woohoo!
Forgive the boring titles, but I'm too excited about getting them out there on canvas. Titles will come later, after I've lived with them for a while. And, yes, I know that in most of these so-called "landscapes," there's more sky and sea than land, so they may be renamed seascapes or skyscapes. All in good time, my friend...
All reactions welcome, negative or positive - I can take it.
Please leave a comment, so I don't have to bug my sweet DH for feedback.:-)
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Challenge

What have I done?
Oh, well -- It's all Robin's fault! :-) (Her blog is Midlife Artist in right sidebar)
You can read about the Challenge here.
Care to join us?
There's a challenge of committing a certain number of hours per week to being in the studio. The going rate is 20 hours, but for those of us working mortals, we can set the goal according to our schedules.
I commented on Robin's blog that my studio time has been sporadic, so I want to create a routine of easel painting on a regular basis. I'm committing to five hours per week, and for those of you who know my job responsibilities as a high school art teacher, you know five hours is a big hunk of time for me.
I don't know if I'll be reporting to American Artist mag or not, but I'll definitely be open to encouragement from blogging artist friends.
OK, lemme rephrase that: I will definitely NEED encouragement from blogging artist friends!
Love & Laughter, (& Paint!)
DJ

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tell it Like You See it

OK, folks! Here goes!
Fringe Girl is rockin' out ID!!!!!
Check out the 68+ comments on this blogpost.
Weigh in on the issue, if you want...
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Time- Shmime!

Monday night, May 18th, I was having an e-mail conversation with the multi-talented artist, Camille, who, fortunately for me, is one of my awesome Coach Creative Space family members. Over at CCS, we're having a Five for Five Summerlicious ATC Swap, so we were discussing the Swap and the fact that I had viewed Camille's lovely tea bag art in the Photos section of CCS.
I mentioned something about not having time to create because of work responsibilities right now, and after I sent the e-mail, I realized that the comment really urked me.
One thing led to another, and before you know it, in an act of rebellion, I was in the studio doing a quick palette knife painting and humming along to some of my fave music. Time-shmime! I'll create when I get good & ready!

Palette Knife Landscape by DJ oil on canvas 16x20"
PS~ Feel free to join us for the Summerlicious ATC Swap! Love & Laughter, DJ

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Just a Quick Gesture

For Sara at her blog, Living the Artist's Way...She's quite the heart-hunter, and I discovered this magnolia leaf in my yard the other day. I decided I'd share...May we all be heart hunters. Love & Laughter, DJ

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monumental Moments

I was visiting my ceramic artist friend, Jean's, blog, a Joyful Spirit, when I read her post entitled "An Ordinary Day...NOT" and was enchanted with the story-like photos of her day.
She was looking for "the special" in the little things in life, and I was left wondering what "monumental moments" we all overlook in our hurriedness to get through our verbs...working, transporting, preparing, dressing, cooking, laundering, talking, feeding, bathing, serving, meeting, cleaning, assisting, writing, composing, answering, driving, reassuring, calling, and say-huh? ...Oh, yes- sleeping!
You know those monumental moments, such as smelling a child's hair when you hug them. Or when your husband squeezes your shoulders as he passes by the computer table. Or the light in your pet's eyes when you come through the door after working late.
What about that first little league game? Or maybe it was the good-bye hug at the preschool door?
What about that first light on a Sunday morning...Or the feel of your favorite pen gliding across those morning pages?
Or that stranger who held the door for you last shopping spree?
Maybe it was seeing that first spring flower. Perhaps it was a home-cooked meal that you didn't have to cook...
And remember that friend who lifted you up in prayer or deed when you needed it most?

Hmmm...Funny, these things aren't really earth-shattering or expensive, are they?
But their value is beyond measure.
How can you give someone a "monumental moment" today?
Thanks, Jean, for giving me one...
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Indomitable Spirit

Well, it seems I'm not the only survivor around here.

A few weeks ago, DH & I were to attend a family gathering and see some folks we had not met. I thought it would be nice to bring a bit of a prezzie for the couple we were meeting, so I purchased a rose in one of those plastic wrappings that has been pruned back, but will grow when planted. So, I put it into a gift bag with tissue paper, and put it in the back seat floorboard of the car when we left to attend the dinner. Well, as my life goes, there was more than one "new" couple there, so I didn't worry about pulling out the gift. I brought it home and sat it on my back porch.

And left it there. Among the other houseplants.

And the thing has grown two feet and BLOOMED right in the plastic wrap, gift bag and all...

And, yes, if I had planted it and cared for it, it would have perished...but just look at it...
Merriam-Webster defines "indomitable" as "incapable of being subdued; unconquerable".

Yes, we should all bloom so beautifully, even if we feel different from the other plants.

Love & Laughter... and wishing YOU an indomitable spirit,

DJ

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm a Survivor

Hello friends, to those lovely readers who thought I'd deserted my hangout here, and to those of you precious seekers who have just now stumbled upon this blog-baby by accident.
I'm DJ and I've been busy with "Life" in myriad ways lately!
I've survived various stressors including a twice-hospitalized grandchild, emergency spinal surgery on my pet, 16 hour workdays, and long-time colleagues losing their jobs.
Honey, am I glad to see Spring!
The least I can do for you, beloved readers, is to return here and share photos of recent work.
Please leave a quick comment, so I'll live to blog another day. :-)
The first is an abstract oil on 24x32" mansonite that began with questionable results. I lived with it on my easel for weeks, trying to decide if it was complete. One evening, I threw caution to the wind, and boldly began applying colors and white in a drybrush technique. I felt the painting come to life and I now enjoy the whimsical results. Title: "From Ugly to Painting with White on the Mountain" :-) The next one is an even freer attempt at applying oil to 24x32" masonite, entitled "Jungle Fire".
This is an acrylic on 17x20" mat board inspired by an oil pastel sketch. The original idea has yet to be realized, so I'm smelling a series. Title: "Buildings I"
This is my most recent oil on canvas, 18x24" with a long story behind it. Long story short, it represents rising from the ashes of my recent life-stressors to begin again. Title? "Isaiah 40:31" of course :-) All observations, negative & positive, welcome. Please leave a comment below so I can return the favor. Love & Laughter, DJ

Monday, January 19, 2009

Drawing Lesson 3 Whoopsie-Daisy

I know; you can already draw flowers. Just draw those little petals around a circle, and you have it. Or, maybe you wonder about how to make it look real.

Here's a start on making your own bouquet.


Start with a structure of a simple circle and a plus sign at the top of your paper.


Add an oval with a plus sign that has shorter verticals.

This oval will be slanted and to the left of center, as pictured.


Now go back to your circular plus sign and make each line a petal.


Add an X of lines, and make those petals, too. Then, add petals in between the + and the X.


Yes, flowers have lots of petals, so add some loops to create more layers.


Now, add shading to the beginning center of some of the petals to create depth. Artists know color shading and tinting as "value". So, we're adding values, which imply light and dark.


Now, to give the center some body, add some vertical hatch marks to imply the side of the "clump", to be technical, ahem. Add some random dots n dashes to imply texture. Then, go to the second flower, which is not looking straight at you, but it tilted. Add petals and shading, but let the vertical petals be shorter. The in-between petals will gradually lengthen to meet the horizontal petals. This creates the illusion of the flower being tilted.




Perhaps you can see this better in a close-up shot...



After drawing those realistic flowers, add some stems and leaves. Don't forget your values on these, so they look real, too.
Create more varieties of flowers by looking in garden catalogs, on the internet, or in your own backyard, when weather permits. Use them in your journals or paintings. These are lovely in fine-tip marker colors!
Create Mother's Day or birthday gifts by painting them on wooden trinket or jewelry boxes purchased at your fave craft store. Just mix several shades of a color, and follow these sketches for lights n darks. Don't forget some lovely greens for the foliage. Add a vine that travels around your box. Add tiny buds along the sides. And you can add some hearts for Valentine's Day, of course. Mistakes? Wipe off what you don't like, and paint again.
What will you do with your new flower drawing skills?
Please comment below, and let me know how your beautiful bouquet is progressing.
Love & Laughter,
DJ