Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Independence Angel

Most of the pictures I take of clouds are captured in the skies over my beloved hometown of Independence.

Indeed, I often see one particular face in the clouds. I call him the "Independence Angel."

I usually capture the Independence Angel doing mischievious things--such you see here--capturing and kissing this fluffy angel kitten. I'm not sure why, but he nearly always wears an odd pointed cap.

He sports a beard and is usually laughing. With the wonderful and checkered history of our town, I'm not surprised the angel watching over us has such an interesting and fun personality!

Above you can see him as I caught him kissing that kitty!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bat Cat


This is one of my few watercolors. My model was our friend Elvis DeBoombah. He was called Elvis because he would sing through his nose. He was a huge yellow tabby Main Coon cat, beloved by us and Fluffy the Scrub Bluejay. He was a laid back soul--we often found him lying on his back in the center of the living room fast asleep . . .
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It has been three years since Elvis left the building and I still miss him.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Garden Faery

I have always imagined faeries must live in the garden. Though we live near the heart of our town, there is something whimsical and lovely about my garden, especially in Springtime, and early summer.
. In the morning when traffic is scarce, the sun slips through the sparkles hung in the trees, creating an illusive beauty which delights my heart.
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This lovely garden faery was one of the first I imagined stepping shyly through the flowers to say "hello."
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I used a mixed media of Prismacolor pencils and ink to create this drawing. The lineart takes three-four hours to complete. Adding color to the drawing takes an additional three to six hours.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Eagle Ruffle

Eagles are noble, strong birds. They can fly higher and longer than any other bird of prey. However, just like people, they have their frazzled moments.

Every so often the Eagle goes through a period of molting. One could imagine an Eagle might feel seriously disgruntled while loosing his feathers. He cannot fly well, his accuracy in hunting is gone and he is vulnerable to attack. During this time, the Eagle labors hard to stay alive.

But soon new feathers grow in place of the old, and the proud Eagle rises on the wind again.

Rather like us, don't you think? We go through times in our lives when we are not very lovely. We become fiercely ruffled as life seems to pummel us unmercifully.

Adversity can bring the best, or the worst out of people. We can choose to drag our feathers in the dirt, or see these hard times as our best teacher. Indeed through adversity, we can learn, become reborn--renewed, able to fly once again. There is no strength without struggle.

To see my frazzled Eagle best, enlarge for the details. He's kind of funny.

Above you see this fierce, ruffled fellow as I first saw him.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dragon Ride

Have you ever wanted to fly on the back of a dragon? Or a flying dinosaur? Ah, I have to admit--that's a fond dream of mine.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kitty Monet

It is a tradition in our family. When our Dad was young, he had a black cat named Snow, as did I. It has been nearly 14 years since the day our own Snowbunny arrived.
.One bright spring day, the children came running in from outside. They could hear the tiny mewlings of kittens in the old "Carriage House." I rushed outside with them. Apparently kittens had been born in the attic of the old building and had fallen down between the walls of the structure.
.The first, a tiny male calico we named Lucky, we rescued by cutting through the sheet rock near the ceiling. We could still hear a second kitten, but could not locate her. So we crawled into the cramped, dusty attic, flashlight in hand. We found a crack in the attic floor and when we flashed the light down between the walls, we found her. The tiny black kitten had fallen over nine feet to the floor below.
.I did not know what to do. The walls were of tough old wood--not sheet rock. It would take a power saw to cut through to her. If we did that, the tiny kitten could be terribly injured, or dreadfully frightened. The kids and I took a moment to pray about it and came up with an idea.
.We lowered a sheet with gathered corners to see if we could slip her up the wall that way. But it did not work--though the little thing seemed to like the softness of the cloth. After further thought, we safety-pinned the gathered corners of the sheet and put a bit of cardboard in the bottom to make a kind of basket.
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Covered with dust, we knelt on the attic floor, one holding the flashlight, another helping to lower the makeshift basket gingerly down to the trapped kitten. I remember praying out loud, "God, please, you have angels out there, couldn't you ask one to give us a little help?"
.The kitten was interested, we could see that--she biffed and nosed the fabric. But she did not get inside. Long moments passed--I was heartsick. I could not imagine listening to the kitten's weakening cries as she starved to death.
.BUT suddenly to our great surprise, she abruptly toppled head first into our basket. It was as though someone had given her an invisible push from under her backside. We all gasped. Hardly believing what we'd seen, we carefully lifted the tiny kitten to safety.
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Later I watched my daughter cuddling the small cat in her lap. The kitten's bright yellow eyes, huge in her tiny black bewhiskered face winked with mischief. Snow was instantly a member of the family, and has been ever since.
.Indeed, our Snowbunny has been the subject of many a drawing, including this one!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fern Maiden

Last year, though we did not get as much snow as surrounding areas, it was actually cold enough to stick to the ground. I love winter when it snows! There is something so magical about a world shrouded in snow.

I could not resist going outside. I was walking along the snow smudged sidewalk toward the Independence Bridge. The world was a wonderland of intricate white-laced branches.

That is why this lovely maiden, modestly draped in licorice fern, stood out so beautifully against the snow-laden trees. Most days you can find her gently dreaming, hidden amongst her sisters.

I think she might have been a little startled when I stopped to take her picture!

It is interesting to note, that when I notice something unexpected, unusual, or beautiful, my eyes tickle. The way I describe that feeling, is that what I'm seeing "fills my eyes." It could be a vivid color, one of my siblings' amazing photos, or the grace of a ballet dancer. That snowy day, the Fern Maiden "filled my eyes."

Above you see the lovely Fern Maiden as I first noticed her against the snow-laden trees.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ocean Beauty

I love the beach. Our Oregon Beach is particularly beautiful any time of the year. Strangely some of the best weather to be had is in January or mid-May. Last May I was walking along the beach, when I clicked this picture of a nymph sleeping in the waves.

Above you see her as I first saw this Ocean Beauty napping.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rapunzel

The story of Rapunzel is not just a fairytale, but a great romance story. Stolen from her parents through trickery, the girl was raised by an evil Witch, who's jealousy knew no bounds. The girl became more lovely every day, and filled with every good virtue, grew like a beautiful wild rose. Seeing the girl's beauty and goodness, the Witch hid Rapunzel in the top of a tall stone tower, deep in the forest.

Innately musical, the girl loved to sing, and filled much of her time learning the haunting melodies of the birds and wind blown trees.

One day a young Nobleman hunting in the forest followed her song to the tower. Alighting from his horse, he walked around its base. Finding no doorway, and filled with curiosity, he shouted a greeting. Imagine his astonishment as he viewed the sweet face of a girl leaning from the window above.

Frightened at first, Rapunzel hid, listening to his queries. Something about his voice warmed her heart. Setting her fear aside, for the first time in her life, the girl spoke to another human being besides her evil captor. But when dusk filled the air, she told the boy to leave--if he were to stay, his life would be in danger. Reluctantly, because of her tears, he left vowing to return.

And so their great romance was born. Before the days of cell phones and the internet, their long-distance romance was of another sort. As their friendship grew, the young Nobleman was filled with a longing to see her face to face. So, unbeknownst to Rapunzel, he devised a plan to rescue her.

Hidden in the forest, he watched as the Witch appeared in a shuddering cloud of brown smoke. The old woman cried out, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair." A rope of shimmering gold braid slid from the tower window to the ground. Grasping her bundles, the Witch weirdly clambered its length to the tower room.

When the Witch was gone, the boy gathered his courage and shouted, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair." He quickly climbed to the window sill of the round tower room. Leaping to the flagstone floor he saw her. There she is, there is my love. He clasped the girl in his arms, and looking into her sweet face, he kissed her. He pleaded with her to come away with him.

But she was afraid. "You will die, if I leave with you." And so they continued to meet.

Then the tragedy. Sensing something had changed, the evil Witch found them out. One day, the gallent young nobleman, bearing a bouquet of roses, sprang into the room. Rapunzel, her golden braid shorn away, screamed a warning and threw herself into his arms. But the lovers were wrenched apart. The Witch screamed her rage. The boy was cruelly pinned against the wall. The girl fell to her knees among the scattered rosebuds, pleading for his life.

"I knew someone had been here," gloated the Witch, "Now you will pay dearly." Turning to the girl, she said, "You will never see him again." Rapunzel vanished in a crash of stinking brown smoke. "And you will blindly seek, and never find her," snarled the Witch to the boy.

A twitch of her gnarled fingers. The boy was instantly blinded by the thorns of the roses he'd brought and brutally thrown from the tower.

For years he wandered, seeking his love. One day, resting at the foot of a mighty oak, he heard a familiar haunting song--then the sound of footsteps. He felt soft hands touching his poor blinded face.

Then a beloved voice shaken with sobs, "Is it you, my dear love?" Rapunzel kissed his ravaged face with her lips and her hot tears fell into his sightless eyes. But as she wept and held him close to her heart, suddenly he could see again. Miraculously Rapunzel's tears of love and faithfulness had broken the evil spell.

And of course, they lived happily ever after. Because once the spell was broken, the Witch had no more power over them. And besides, since the unsurmountable power of true love cannot be broken, the old Witch grew hopelessly bored in trying and so decided to put her evil attention on other dastardly doings.

And that, as they say, is that!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Fae

There is a whimsical side to the Irish. Here is a lovely Irish girl with her small Fae friend. Fae, or Fairy were said to be the wee folk, good folk, people of peace, or fair folk--a type of mythological being.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Purple Moon


I got up this morning feeling sad. I don't know why--some days are just like that. I worked a little, read a little--fed the fish and helped my husband with a project.

The sadness lingered, so I went upstairs to my studio, set up my easel and began to paint. Three hours later I stepped back from the canvas. As you can see, this is not my normal style at all. When I took Purple Moon downstairs to show my husband, I noticed the braided rug in my office is in exactly these colors.

So . . . can you see her?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Snow Angel

Last year, it did snow a bit in our area. In fact, it was snowing hard as I clumped along the snow-covered sidewalks of our historic little town. I say clumped, because that is the sound my big black rubber boots make when I walk in them. Even though they're five sizes too big, they're wonderful to wear in the snow because my feet stay warm. And it was VERY cold that day. I remember my surprise when the sun broke through the clouds. The air was still filled with thick snowflakes which caught in my eyelashes.

As the snow fell, the sun sparkled through the icy tranquil air, highlighting tree limbs etched in snow. The contrast was gorgeous! I was about to walk over the small bridge into downtown, when I happened to glance toward the river. There she was, a Snow Angel sweeping gracefully over the snow-laden trees.
Above you see the original Snow Angel smiling above the trees. May your busy day, with its burdens, frustrations and grief, be filled with unexpected peace and quiet joy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Something Bigger


I remember the day my brother Dow told me he had only a month left to live. He died January 27, 2002. I think one of the defining moments of my life was the day he flew away to heaven. We were born only 14 months apart. I had never lived in a world without my brother.
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After Dow died, I thought the world should stop--we all did. But it didn't. I thought, why is the sun still shining, why are the birds still singing? But the sun kept shining, and the world went on much as it did before.
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But our lives had changed forever. Death has a way of prioritizing life. Suddenly things which were terribly important, no longer seemed so.
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One day I found a photo of my brother's hands. They were beautiful. I began to paint them against a black canvas. Hands formed, then for some unknown reason, I painted in the world--scudding in clouds, earth and sea.
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My son wandered past where I was painting. He stood there a little while, then said, "Why don't you put a moon right here."
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So I did. Then a sprinkling of stars, and sparkling robes. Glory light formed between his fingers.
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I looked at the painting for a long time. Then I realized, through my grief for my brother, God had illustrated His great love, and heart-breaking gift to the world.
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Today, the painting hangs on the wall in my parent's living room where the morning sunshine touches it with a special glow. Mom says she feels great peace when she looks at it. She says she senses the presence of God.
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Looking back, I am convinced that, in wielding my paintbrush to express my deep loss and sorrow, I was directed to paint Something Bigger.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cloud Ship

Day before yesterday my husband and I drove to the supermarket. He opened my door for me, looked skyward and then pointed at the clouds floating above.

"It's a ship!" He exclaimed. Ha! Even my husband is seeing things in clouds these days!

Of course, I was ready--camera bag slung over shoulder, I grabbed my camera out and took a picture of it only seconds before the cloud ship dissolved into memory.

This Cloud Ship is for my darling husband, who loves all things nautical.


Above is the ship as my husband first pointed it out.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Lady of the River


When the weather is warm, I often walk with my husband through downtown historic Independence. We stroll from there, over the great Independence Bridge. On the far side, the bridge curves down from its immense height, onto a road which ribbons through fragrant groves of blueberry bushes and peach trees.

One warm Fall day, I lagged behind, as my husband briskly walked ahead of me on the bridge.

I was overcome with the beauty of the morning. As I glanced down into the backwaters of the Willamette River I was arrested by the trace of a modestly lovely profile in the waters below the bridge.

I realized I had inadvertently surprised My Lady of the River, wearing a flowering crown of leaves over her graceful green tresses. So I took her picture.

Above you see her lingering in the waters as I first saw her.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Snort

This dragon is having a little playful fun, snorting hot steam against the boy's riding cloak. You can see the affectionate annoyance in the eyes of his young rider. As a dragon rider of Pern, the boy and his dragon often battle against incredible odds. It is good that they are friends.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shy Unicorn

I often see the most amazing clouds billowing up over the distant mountains in the East, especially in the early morning.

What a precious surprise to catch this lovely unicorn shyly peeking over her shoulder next to the big tree in the alley.

Above you see the Unicorn as I first caught sight of her.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Reach for the Stars

Sometimes the struggle of life itself surrounds us with unexpected clouds of grief and pain. Reality gives us a good smack in the face and we reel away stunned and numbed.

One of my favorite movies of all time, is August Rush, which details a child's search for his parents. His mother believes he died at birth, his father does not know he exists. The boy lives in an orphanage, where others seek to stomp and stiffle his hope.

In the face of insurmountable circumstances, the small boy states, "I can." He firmly believes, if only he could learn to play the music he hears, his parents would hear his song and find him. The music in this movie is incredible and inspiring.

It is a beautiful story.

The first time I watched the film, I wept, which is not typical for me. Something about the music and the storyline--something inspiring I can't put into words--deeply touched my heart. I think that feeling might be hope.

Hope heals. Hope inspires. Hope causes each of us to reach for the stars. Our Creator put the capacity to hope and dream inside each of us. He walks with us every step of our lives. He rescues us when we stumble. He holds us dear to His heart, and He delights over us. He inspires us in quiet moments. He rejoices and sings over us. How lovely it is that He sings over us!

I believe God placed music into our lives to revive and restore our hearts. The truth is, there have been many times I have felt desperately discouraged, then I listen to music, and suddenly I am smiling again.

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17, The Bible, NIV Translation)

Above is the original photo. As you can see I didn't have to add or change much!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

All That We Have Loved

I made this badge in celebration of our Crickette's life, for all of you who have been so encouraging with your kind thoughts, prayers and words. We are comforted. God bless you!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Taking a Ride on a Sharp Shinned Hawk


When I look at Abraham Lincoln's photos on his Bird Blog, I am transported to another place. My artistic reference for this wonderful, fierce bird came from his blog entry.   Here's the link:  Abraham Lincoln I hope all of you get a chance to visit.

Abe, your photos are just wonderful--I thank you for your inspiring work.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Blue Crickette'



 Our little furry friend is in heaven today. Sunday afternoon our beloved Crickette' went missing. That morning we saw her sitting on the front steps watching us leave. My husband and I both had a strange feeling about her--she seemed sad. I blame myself for not stopping the car to put her into the house where she could be safe. I wish I would have followed my hunch.

With all we must accomplish over the next few days both Alan and I are very sad over the loss of our little friend. It will be a very difficult week for us. I'd appreciate your thoughts and prayers. We've faced so many hard things over the past few years--this latest loss seems to have opened the floodgate for my tears.