Monday, March 30, 2009

Lady of the Mist

Whimsical memories of the Lady of the Mist come from my imaginative childhood.

I remember sometimes thick ropes of mist would visibly move through the trees of the forest next to our home. The mist would daintily coil above fields, and tiptoe through the blueberry bushes. Sometimes I thought I saw a lovely woman with soft trailing draperies wafting to and fro, in a silent elegant dance.

As an adult, my imagination is alive and well. Early summer mornings, I sometimes catch the Lady of the Mist gracefully twirling over the ripples of the river near where I live. I once watched her whisping through a grove of oak trees, murmering to a flock of sheep sheltering there.

Except for the sheep (who are huddled out of sight in the thicket) this Pen and Ink is my imaginative rendition of The Lady of the Mist softly dancing among the towering oak trees

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Miriam, A Sister's Love

I have always loved the story of Miriam. She was an Israelite who long ago, was enslaved with her family, in the land of Egypt. The Pharaoh at that time became afraid of the Israelites because they had grown so strong and numerous. He ordered the midwives to destroy every newborn baby boy. When the midwives refused to do so, soldiers were sent. It must have been a terrible, frightening time.

Thus Miriam's baby brother was hidden for three months. When they could no longer hide the baby, his mother came up with a novel idea. And so the tiny baby floated upon the waters of the Great Nile River in a papyrus basket coated with tar and pitch. His sister followed at a distance, hidden in the thick reeds.

The Pharoah's daughter was walking along the river's bank seeking a place to bathe. She saw the basket and sent one of her servants to get it. When she opened it, little Moses was crying, and this touched the Royal lady's heart.

Then Miriam bravely stepped from the reeds saying, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" So the Pharoah's daughter paid Moses' mother to be his nurse. The royal lady loved the boy and adopted him as her own son. Moses grew up to be a great man, who saved his people from terrible cruelty and slavery.

His little sister's gentle love, bravery and loyalty are an example to us all.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kitten with Wings

As you know, from other posts on my website, I am convinced cats actually have wings, which they never show to humans. The lovely young lady in my drawing is one of the lucky ones!

This furry kitten loves her little mistress so much, that, forgetting her wings she flies to greet her friend, landing upon the girls' fingers to wrap a furry warm kitten tail around her wrist.

I know...I know, I have a GREAT imagination. (grin)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Esther, Star of Persia

Hadassah was a lovely young orphan living in a foreign land with her Uncle Mordecai. In a fit of loneliness, the King of Persia decreed that the most beautiful and accomplished women be chosen from each province of his kingdom. From these candidates he would choose his Queen.

Because of her exquisite beauty, Hadassah was taken from her home, to the King's palace, where she was given a new name, Esther--which means "star." After months of preparation, she met the King of Persia. The King was so charmed by Esther, he proclaimed her Queen of Persia.

But the King did not know Esther was Jewish. Her Uncle Mordecai had admonished Esther not to disclose her nationality to anyone.

Meanwhile, Haman, an evil man who hated the Jews, had became very powerful. Haman deceived the King into authoring the wholesale slaughter of Jewish men, women and children throughout the entire empire. This malevolent man callously cast lots to determine the exact day they would die. When the date was set, decrees were sent throughout the kingdom, and the Jewish people went into mourning.

Mordecai informed the Queen of this decree, asking her to intervene for her people, saying, "And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"

Though Esther had not seen the king for several months, she replied "I will go before the King, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish." After fasting three days, she carefully adorned herself in rich royal robes. Then she entered the inner Court in front of the King's rooms--uninvited.

Queen Esther was a powerful woman. But her power came from something deep within her soul. It wasn't because she was the most beautiful woman in the land. There was something else which caught the King's heart. "Why are you troubled, " he queries. Though Esther must have been terribly frightened, she bravely faced death for the sake of her people. In making herself vulnerable in a time of great danger, she risked everything. Because she did, she saved an entire nation of people from the evil plotting of a murderous man.

Queen Esther was just one woman, but her wisdom, bravery and trust in God, changed the tide of history itself.

Greatness is when an ordinary person, risks everything to do what is right in the face of grave danger. We live in dangerous times.

I believe every woman has a "Queen Esther" deep inside. Each of us has a purpose, and have been given great power to influence the lives of those around us. Let us choose to face life with courage, wisdom, and trust in God. Let us speak words of peace and truth to those we love, just as Queen Esther spoke them to her people in the days of Purim.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Branch

October 2007, I nearly died.

I contracted a "flesh eating" staph infection in my foot. For three days my doctors were not sure I would make it. I later learned there was a 73 % chance that I would not. If my family had not insisted I go back to emergency when I did, I would have lost my foot, my life--or both.

I knew something was terribly wrong. Though no one had said so I knew I could die. Lying in the hospital bed, not knowing what the future held, I prayed that God would spare my life. I promised Him I would use my artwork to bring joy to people's hearts. I asked Him for a new way of "seeing."

Four months later (still using my cane), in an obscure park in Stevenson, Washington, I shot this photo in a thicket along the edges of the great Columbia River. When I first saw the naturally altered branch in it's lovely setting against those moss-covered boulders, I could not believe my eyes. What you see here is exactly what I saw--only I added two little sparkles to emphasize The Branch.

Since then, I've found even more amazing photos in nature. Perhaps to say that God has given me a special gift of "seeing," is presumptious, but there seems to be no other explanation.

I am grateful for my life, for the ability to walk unhindered. For the joy of "seeing" hidden pictures in nature. My life will never be the same.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Curious Little Faery

I was doing some Spring cleaning yesterday, when I thought I heard a gentle tapping, tapping. Sitting back onto my heels, pumice stone in hand, I saw (with my imagination, of course), a curious little faery waving down at me through the bathroom window.

"Come out and play in the garden," said she. "What are you doing in there, anyhow?"

I carefully balanced the pumice stone on the edge of the porcelain, er, fixture I was scrubbing. Then I removed my gloves. I set aside the Windex, Comet, Kaboom & bleach, and pushed the hair out of my eyes. "Not something I enjoy much," I replied.

She smiled. "Come out to the garden. The goldfish are awake, flowers are beginning to bloom, and the earth is stirring from its sleep."

And so I did. That very moment.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eeeek! It's a Dragon!


Last Summer I was down by the river taking photos, when I noticed a dragon hovering closely overhead. I'd never seen a dragon before, so I snapped a picture of him. He didn't mind in the least. In fact, I believe he was rather curious. I was amazed at the detail in his wings and face.
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This smaller photo is the original dragon I saw in the skies.




Monday, March 23, 2009

Blue Faery

The little blue faery is a frequent imaginary visitor to my garden. She's part Genie as you can see. She lives in a little bottle next to the fence in my yard, where in summertime she oft comes out to play with the gold fish after dark.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Angel Warrior

Time for another angel story!

We were on our way back from another performance, traveling over a mountain in our van, trailor in tow. The pastor's son sat in front with Alan, I sat behind with the children next to me.

Suddenly the van began to sway dangerously. At the higher elevation the road beneath us had unexpectedly iced over and we were sliding over the slick mountain road toward a steep cliff. I clutched my children, and heard myself shouting, "God help us!"

Everything went into slow motion. We were in the gravel, slipping inevitably ever so slowly toward the cliff's edge, when something big hit the side of our van with a tremendous thump! The van swerved, its wheels bumping back up onto the pavement, where we skidded to a stop. Time snapped back into focus. For a moment I thought we'd hit a barrior of some sort. But nothing was there. Stunned, we thanked God for His protection.

Alan drove slowly, inching down the icy mountain, finally pulling into the driveway of the pastor's home where we were to spend the night.

The first thing everyone did was to leap out to look at the side of the van where we'd all heard that huge whack. There in the tough road dirt and grease from miles of traveling, we saw the shiny imprint of a mighty shoulder, and a trace of feathery lines.

An angel? We think so. I can just see that giant angel warrior, eyeing our danger, shooting toward our van, colliding into its side with a mighty blow, to blast us back up onto the road, out of harm's way.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

There's Hope in a Rose

I love this drawing. I've never drawn anything quite like it before. This faery maiden's heart was badly broken. The look upon her face, and the rose in her outstretched fingers cause me to believe she has found hope and healing.

Hope is beautiful, like a rose. Roses flower throughout the seasons, and astoundingly, I have even found them blooming in January beneath the snow. There is hope in a rose.

Somehow when hope shines impossibly through the cold darkness of hard times, its beauty and fragrance are more precious and lovely than ever before.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tender Tears


Because this blog augments my art web page, I will occasionally be re-submitting some of my earlier art stories. This morning I decided to re-visit Tender Tears, and the mystery which surrounds this chalk drawing.
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I was 11 years old when my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Young, gave the class a page of black construction paper and a thick stick of chalk. I vividly remember drawing a fan of lines from the bottom of the page, with horizontal lines crossing where I thought the eyes, nose and mouth should be. Time seemed to slow as I gently smudged chalk into the darkness of the paper. Slowly a face emerged. I did not know who it was, but I loved the tender expression of his eyes.

My Mother liked it so well, she framed my drawing and hung it in the stairwell of our home.

Over 30 years later, I slid the picture out of its frame to scan it into my computer.

Here is the mystery.

Imagine my astonishment when I noticed tear stains soaking through the chalk, trickling from those wonderful eyes, seeping down the plane of one cheek. If you look closely you can actually see the tear stains pushing through the chalk lines. How on earth did they get there? My drawing had been sealed in its frame for more than 30 years.

Today the picture, which I've entitled Tender Tears, hangs in our upstairs hallway gallery. Every now and then I stop to look, and to ponder how those tear stains got there.

Sissy thinks the picture looks a little like my husband. I am not sure. Either way, it's a wonderful mystery.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Elegant Magnolia

I had a lot of fun putting in the detail you see in this pen and ink. I enjoy patterns, lines and the feel of beauty which fine detail adds to a drawing. The flowers were inspired by some photos I snapped in the quaint town of Stevenson on the Washington side of the great Columbia River.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Angel Praises


Here you see an angel, face full of praise, rising toward heaven. The smaller photo is the original photograph before cloud painting!
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Speaking of angels, I am so very grateful for the intervention of these amazing beings in our lives. I have some wonderful stories about angels.
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When I was in my early 20's I lived with my grandmother, next door to my parents. One day Dad and Mom asked me to use their car to pick my brothers and sister up from school. On the way home, a tire blew out on the old Lamaze. Narrowly missing a cliff, we landed in the hedge along the edge of an old man's front yard.
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The little old man could not help, but he let us use his phone. However, because Dad and Mom did not own another car besides the one I was driving, no help was to be found. Dad and Mom stopped right then and there to pray that God would send help.
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Meanwhile, my siblings and I were assessing the damage to the tire. Just then a sparkling white tow truck pulled up--no insignia on the side of it. A buff fellow about my age, with long blonde hair and wearing sparkling clean white coveralls, jumped from the tow truck.
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"Looks like you need some help," he said with a grin. Then he hooked our car to his truck, pulled it from the bushes, and backed it down into the old man's driveway. "I can't help you change your tire, but I can show you how to do it." This he did, then with a wink and a wave he drove away. My siblings and I ran to the top of the driveway to wave our thanks, but to our astonishment he and his tow truck had vanished. The road was clear in both directions. There was no possible physical way that tow truck could have gone out of sight so quickly.
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Angels watching over us. Angels sent to help--in answer to the fervent prayer of our parents.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Gruesome Twosome

I taught stage makeup "how to's" to a combined class of 26 junior high and high school children last Friday. We had a wonderful time. The night before, just for practice, I made up my son and his buddy with some rather gruesome wounds.
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There are all kinds of art forms out there--not just painting and drawing.
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This is another creative outlet for the artist.

Little Boy Blue

The original cloud for this cloud painting formed over the back fence in the alley. I was astounded--I had very little work to do. The little fellow's profile was perfect.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ladybug Bouquet

On this rainy, blustery day, it seems flowers are in order...and a little fun, too! Several years ago we traveled through California for a week of drama performances. That means lots of sitting time in the big red van. Even with the bumps of the road, I enjoyed drawing this pen and ink bouquet.

This bouquet is for you on this rainy, dreary day. Now, for a little fun. If you look closely, there are an undetermined number of ladybugs hidden in the flowers. How many ladybugs can YOU find?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Blackberry Faery

A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine gave me three starts of some thornless blackberry bushes! The fruit is delicious, and without the inevitable scratches and prickles, it is a pleasure to harvest them.

The day I took the photo from which this pen and ink evolved, was sunny and hot. I can still hear the bees lazily buzzing in the lavender bush, the fragrance of the berries, and AH, the rich taste of the ripe fruit.

I shared a bite with the Berry Faery, you know. She thought they were tasty, too.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Flirty Whirl Wind

I have often watched farmers working in their fields, first plowing, then disking the harshly furrowed dirt into softness. After that seeds are pressed into the rich brown soil. The crops grow, then are harvested by massive machinery with great fat tires.

It is interesting to me, that as the farmers work the fields, there are nearly always a few dust devils dancing alongside them. I imagine the whirl winds might be flirting with those buff, hard-working farmers. What do you think?
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Daddy, Tell Me a Story

This Cloud Painting takes me back to when my children were small. Every night when we'd tuck them into their beds inevitably one of the kids would say, "Daddy, tell me a story..."
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My husband is a wonderful storyteller and over the years, since they were tiny babies, Alan has told them bedtime stories about a mysterious Sea Captain. The Sea Captain became so real to them the kids once stopped a man to ask if HE was the Sea Captain.
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Each of the Sea Captain stories had a theme. This evening the story was to teach the children to call upon God in times of trouble. The lights were were low. Alan lay on his back on the old waterbed, the girls perched on his outstretched arms. They were on a boat in the open sea.
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Suddenly a storm blew up out of nowhere! The wind was ferocious, the ship began to rock. I provided the wind "sound effects." Alarmed the Sea Captain began to shout orders. Alan's up-flung arm became the mast, as our youngest daughter began to pull in the sails. On the other side, the eldest was ordered to "frappe" the boat as the waves of the sea grew higher and higher. Our young son, the official thundercloud, began to bounce up and down on Dad's feet. The lightning flashed! I flickered the overhead lights. And the thunder grew louder and louder!
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The boat began to bounce and rock dangerously from side to side! The thunder growled and the clouds grew darker and darker. I switched off the bedside lamp. It began to rain furiously. The deck was so slippery no one could walk without being swept out to sea! Giant waves were splashing clear up over the ship!
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"Nothing more can be done!" cried the Sea Captain. "What should we do?"
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But all that rocking had put one little sailor nearly to sleep. She opened one eye, and with a huge yawn she replied, "Call 911!"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Indigo Dreams

This is my youngest sister Leigh's favorite Cloud Painting. There's something peaceful about this piece--I snapped the photo last summer, south of town in the middle of a fragrant mint field.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Whispers

She whispers through my prayers. She does not know it but I pray. She is lost, but will be found. What sacrifice will be made? Amazing to find her profile in the clouds. Beloved girl. Adopted Daughter. Heart broken and so far from home.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Rose of My Heart

This is one of my very first watercolors. I've always loved roses. Their beauty and fragrance have always brought joy.

There are many memories associated with roses, the white blossoms which grew rampant over the old shed at Grammie's house, a start Mom brought home which grew up into the oak tree next to the pathway.

Our last home was surrounded by roses of every kind and hue, even a blue rose. I LOVED them. the blue roses were more purple than blue, but they were the most aromatic roses I've ever known.

I have always associated roses with my heart. Perhaps because in their fragrance I can walk back into wonderful memories from my life.

Roses of my heart.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hearts, Hearts and MORE Hearts!

I challenged my darling sis to another duel.
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Said she, "The challenge ist "dual-ly" accepted. At thine bequest the gauntlet is flung back to thou. I shalt search for a likeness. Thou shalt search for a heart. The laurel of Supreme Wenchdom is at stake. Thine everloving sis - Clytie"
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Here therefore, sweet sis, are some of the hearts for which I sought!

















So now thusly I join my sister Clytie, to challenge the rest of you to a dual--to find a face or heart in something unexpected--for a GRAND contest!
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The first prize winner of this goodly challenge, wilst receive as their own, a matted, signed, numbered piece of art from Beth Niquette Fine Art. The Second prize winner will receive a matted, signed numbered photo from Clytie of Random Hearts.
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The best entries will be posted on our new blog site which will be up and running in a couple of days.
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This fine contest ends on April Fool's Day!
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The gauntlet has been flung--Now forsooth! Who will take up the challenge?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Angel of the roses

The Angel of the Roses started as a pencil sketch in my sketchbook. When I had a moment to spare for drawing, I would add a little here, and a little there. This drawing took about six years to finish.

I love the jewel tones of the colors, and the graceful line of her wings. Many people have told me this piece looks like a stained glass window.