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 presumptuous, 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.
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."
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.
Above you see the original dragon I saw in the skies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here you see an angel, face full of praise, rising toward heaven. The smaller photo is the original photograph before cloud painting!
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
Angels watching over us. Angels sent to help--in answer to the fervent prayer of our parents.
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 these two fellas with some rather gruesome wounds. .
There are all kinds of art forms out there--not just painting and drawing. .
This is another creative outlet for the artist.
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?
I have often watched farmers working in their fields, first plowing, then discing 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?
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.
I challenged my darling sis to another duel. .
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" .
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!
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.
The best entries will be posted on our new blog site which will be up and running in a couple of days.
This fine contest ends on April Fool's Day!
The gauntlet has been flung--Now forsooth! Who will take up the challenge?
My mother, Author Eva Gibson, says,"Everybody loves a story." These are the untold stories hidden behind each piece of my artwork. Some are whimsical or sad, others funny. There are stories rooted in science fiction and fairytales--some classical, others born from my imagination. Many pieces reflect my love for the Creator. Often, hidden behind my art, are stories from real life experiences. Indeed, over the years I've discovered the old saying is true. "Truth IS often stranger than fiction."
A midget who told me, when I was depressed about people making fun of me because we had no money and no new clothes and I was wearing everything second handed. He told me, "You are the only one in the world, make the most of it."
-- Abe Lincoln, Artist, photographer (Ohio)
FILLS MY EYES...
When I see something unexpected, unusual, or beautiful, my focus suddenly sharpens and intensifies. The sensation tickles! That's when I say something "fills my eyes." It is the greatest compliment I can give.
My Camera and Me
I carry my camera everywhere I go. Here you see one of my Cloud Paintings. I find unusual shapes, faces, animals in just about everything, especially clouds. Often I am able to enhance or "paint" my photos so others can see what my imagination has revealed.
What an honor to be a featured artist for this wonderful webpage!
A Fairytale Mind
This is a link to my favorite book reviewer. Rena Lanyon gives a well-written review from a youthful perspective.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I have not a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me Lord." -- Darlene Pringle, Artist
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass....it's about learning how to dance in the rain."
Life should be measured not by the number of years, but the love shared, the memories made, the joy given, the blessings received.
Old Woman Trees
The pine needles click…Click… Knitting stray wisps of wind
Into scarves of song.
~ Dorothy Marie Davis
My stories and artwork may not be reproduced, copied, edited, published, transmitted or uploaded in any way without my written permission (which is easy to get via email).
If you have my permission and use my artwork and/or writings, please credit me and put a link to my blog. Let me know when you use my work, so I can visit.
I expect my stories and artwork will be used in a tasteful manner. If my work is used in a manner which I deem unsuitable, I reserve the right to remove any permission granted to use my stories and artwork, which then must be immediately removed.