Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Few Small Items and a sweet great-grand-daughter

I took a short trip last weekend.  We went to Dayton to meet our great-grand-daughter Adaleia Lynn who came with her mom Megan and dad Paul from Hawaii for a family visit.  She is Brian and Sarah's grand-daughter. She is 7 months old and such a cute happy baby.

I started working on some small items for the Three Rivers Art Guild holiday show before we left for the trip and finished a few more after we came back.  I mentioned in my last post that I had gotten some old wood from our grand-daughter Stacy's farm.  I had Roger cut the old oak board into small sections.  Here are a few tiny paintings that I will sell with the easels.

I stained the two on the end.  The fruit and flower painting is on a grey stained board and the owl is on a medium brown stained board.  I left the one in the middle natural but painted the oval black.  I did one more painting on a slightly larger oak board that is stained dark brown.  The painting is of a lighthouse.  I drilled holes and ran a jute cord through the holes and knotted it so that it can be hung on the wall.

When I was on vacation in August in NC I found this unpainted  swan in a thrift shop.  It also hangs on the wall.  I painted it in my patchwork style.

Since October is breast cancer awareness month I did something to honor that.  I have a stack of domino train stations that my son Mark cut for me so I decided to paint a pink rose on one of them and use the pink ribbon as trim around the edges. 

I really like the way this one turned out.  I think I will do a canvas painting featuring pink roses and ribbons. 

Before I start another painting I have to take time to finish framing the canvas paintings I did in the past month.  I put them in the frames but have never finished the backs with paper and wires.  I'll do that later today then will start work on more small stuff and the rose canvas painting.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

3 Paintings, Abstract, Still Life and Symmetrical Design.

I finished three more paintings in the past 12 days.  After painting so many lighthouse paintings I was in the mood to do something different.  The first painting is an abstract.  When I do an abstract I don't have a plan.  I just "go for it" not sure what the results will be. In this case I put texture on the canvas then sponged the color over the texture.  I thought it needed something else I so drizzled the white over the base color.  When I was done I looked at it and thought "Fire and Ice".  That is what I titled this painting.

The next painting I did is a traditional still life.  I adapted a pattern I had done on slate to fit a canvas.  There is no fancy name for this one.  It is simply "Fruit and Flowers".

It had been awhile since I had done a symmetrical design painting so that is what I did for the final one.  I love doing the detail and design work on this kind of painting.  It looks complicated and time consuming but it isn't.  There is a lot of dot work but it is fun.  This is why I was given the nickname of  the Dot Lady.  I call this one "Ornamental Arrangement".  I've use that title before for a similar type of painting.  I decided to use it again because I couldn't think of something new and interesting.

I'm starting to think ahead to the Three Rivers Art Guild Holiday Show.  Now that September is almost over Christmas will be here in no time so I must prepare.  I know that smaller, lower priced items sell so that is what I am working on.  I picked up a few craft items on my trips this summer and have already started work on them.  I also went to my grand-daughter's farm and got some old barn wood and a nice piece of old weathered oak from her.  I will be doing some tiny easel paintings and some small hanging paintings on this wood.  When I get some of these done I will post photos of them.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Stained Glass Windows for an Air Force Chapel in Iraq 2008

In my last post I promised to tell you the story of how we came to make stained glass panels and paintings for an Air Force Chapel in Iraq.  It started in June of 2008 when our son was sent to Iraq for his second tour of duty there.  He called us shortly after he arrived at the base in Baghdad.  He told us that in his previous time there the chapel met in a tent but since then they had moved into a building.  He said it was windowless for safety reasons and his idea was for Roger to make some stained glass panels that could be back lit and for me to do some paintings to help brighten up the place.  We said "of course we would do that."  This was the beginning of a six month saga.

 I was put in contact with an Assistant Chaplin named Tiffany who became our liaison with those in command.  All our communication was via email.  With her help, subject matter and color choices were decided.  We had to keep the subject of the windows religious neutral because the chapel was used for a variety of different religions. We came up with four ideas that would work.  The chapel name was the Lighthouse Chapel so one would be a lighthouse.  The others were of a rainbow and dove, a butterfly and a lily.  They wanted them to be a colorful as possible so we used a variety of bright colors.

The process took up much of our time in the next months.  The patterns had to be drawn.  Roger and I both worked on this.  I chose the glass colors and he ordered the glass.  While we waited for the glass order to come he worked on getting the pattern ready which takes much time as it must be traced onto mylar and each piece cut out like a jigsaw puzzle.  When the glass arrived I helped lay out the pattern on the glass.  Here is a photo of me doing that.
 From this point on I was done with my part.  Roger did the rest of the job. Here is a photo of him working on one of the panels.
The finished panels were beautiful.  The next photo shows us with three of the windows and the photo after that is of the lighthouse panel.

It took a number of months for Roger to build the windows.  It only took me a few weeks to do four paintings.  I posted a photo of myself and the paintings in  my last post so you can go there to see them.

During the time we were working on this project Brian called and told us he had another idea that maybe we could work on.  He said the chapel ran a coffee bar but that they only served regular coffee and that the troops craved flavored coffee which they could not get in Iraq.  He suggested we have a coffee drive in our community.  We said we would do it and  enlisted the help of our next door neighbors, George and Gloria Magee.  With their help and the contribution of friends and neighbors we were able to collect 400 pounds of every possible flavor of coffee you can think of along with 30 pounds of coffee flavored hard candy and even coco mix.  
 We shipped the coffee in flat rate boxes as we collected it.  Shipping the windows was another story.  At first we were told to take them to the local Air Force Base and they would get them to Iraq so we took them there.  After almost a month we were told they could not do it.  Long story short, we were told that if we could get them to Dover Delaware by a date only a few days away they would be put on a plane to Iraq.  The day we got this call was the day before Thanksgiving.  We quickly picked them up from the local Air Force Base and took them straight to Fedex who got them to Delaware in time to make the plane to Iraq.  I forgot to mention that we also had people contribute money to help with shipping costs of the windows, paintings and coffee.
We held our breath until we heard they arrive safe and undamaged.  As soon as they got there they were given to a young airman who had the skill to build cabinets for the panels and to back light them.  This took almost another month.

They were finally finished and placed in the chapel.  The dedication ceremony took pace just a few days before Brian finished his tour of duty in Iraq.  Here are photos of the staff, and the ceremony.  Brian is in the last photo.

We are proud to have taken part in this project to help brighten the days of our troops and we are even prouder of our son Brian for having suggested we do this.  We are also thankful for all of our Arizona friends who took part in the coffee drive with the their donations of both coffee and money for shipping.

This all happened in 2008.  Since then the Air Force base in Iraq was closed.  A number of years ago I got an email from an Air Force Chaplin telling me that the windows were still blessing the troops in another Chapel but, in his words, "Because of the sensitive nature of the county they were in" he could not tell me where they were.

I hope you enjoyed reading this story about our "Windows for Iraq."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Lighthouse Collection

It is 8 days since my last post and in that time I completed 5 lighthouse paintings.  I mentioned in my last post that I have had people ask me if I had paintings of lighthouses so that is why I decided that my next project would be to do a collection of  paintings featuring lighthouses.  My only experience in painting lighthouses was in 2008 which were for an Air Force chapel in Iraq.  It is a long story of how this came about.  I think I will save the story for another post which I will do soon. For this post I will show a  photo of me with the paintings that went to Iraq.  This was taken in November of 2008. The chapel was called the Lighthouse Chapel which is the reason the subject of two of the paintings were lighthouses.

Here are photos of my new lighthouse paintings.  I'll post them in the order in which I painted them.  The first is titled "Lavish Lighthouse"  Size is20X9
Next I painted a smaller version of this same painting.  The size is 10X8.
As I mentioned before, smaller paintings always appear larger than the bigger paintings in this blog.  I have not figured out why this happens.

When trying to decide on how to do another lighthouse painting I remembered the ones I did for Iraq.  I did small versions based on those paintings.    The first is titled "Beacon of Hope" which is the title of the original painting.  The original was size 16X20 and this one is 8X10.
For the last canvas painting I used the idea of the lighthouse with a flower boarder similar to the 20X16 painting I did for Iraq.  I could not remember what I titled that painting so came up with the name "Lovely Lighthouse" for this one which is 10X8.  As you can see, I am still using alliteration in some of these titles.

My last project was to paint a lighthouse on a domino train station.
I think I am done with lighthouse painting for awhile.  I'm not sure what I will do next.  Maybe an abstract or a flower painting.  I love to paint flowers.

If I have time tomorrow I will do a post telling the story of how my paintings and Roger's stained glass windows ended up in the Air Force Lighthouse Chapel in Baghdad, Iraq.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

"Barnyard Buddies", "Forest Family" and a new "Fancy Felines"

As you can see from the title of this post I like to use alliteration when I name my paintings.   You can also see that I paint a lot of "cutesy animals".  Since I moved to MI I have been doing more of them.  They seem to be popular here.  Although, when I think about it, I did a lot of them in AZ except that they were southwest animals.  I called them my Critter paintings.  I guess these new ones are still Critters just not the same type of critters.

Here are my new cute, colorful, critters.  (More alliteration.  I can't help it!)  If you click on the painting you will see an enlarged version.

The one above is "Barnyard Buddies" and the one below is "Forest Family". In reality the one above is much bigger.  It is 11X14 and the one below is 9' square.  Notice the old rustic frames.  I thought they were the perfect match for these two paintings.

You have seen a version of this next one before.  It is "Fancy Felines".   I sold the previous one so decided to do another. Size is 11X14.

If you scroll down the page to my last post you will see the first one that I painted a few months ago.

I have started work on a lighthouse painting.  At the last two shows I had a number of people who asked if I had any paintings of lighthouses.  I did not realize how many lighthouses were in MI and how many people collected lighthouse items. For that reason I decided to  use them as new subject matter.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

New Painting, Old Paintings, Two Trips and An Art Exhibition

Where has the month of August gone?  I can't believe it is almost September and that fall is just around the corner.

My last post featured two shows that I did the first weekend in August.  Just a few days after that weekend we left for a trip to visit family in WV and NC.  We were home less than a week when we left for another trip to the UP for our daughter-in-law Sarah's family reunion.

Our first trip was spent spending time with family, first with Roger's cousin and wife in WV then to NC with our son Mark and his wife Leslie and their oldest son Michael who had come from GA  to be there with us.

When in WV I took this photo of one of my first slate paintings done in 1977 which they still have hanging on an entrance door.

Here is another painting from the past that I took at our son's house in NC.  I did this one around 1987.

When we were in NC we spent time playing games and roaming around a few picturesque little towns in the area.  We stopped into a Goodwill store where I bought this jacket for $5. As soon as I saw it I had to have it.
The reason it was a "must buy" for me is that it was a match to my "Fancy Felines" painting which I sold at the Corey Lake show.

The trip to the UP was fun.  We did a little sight-seeing and spent lots of time with Sarah's family.
The most interesting part was where we stayed.  It is the Birch Lodge and Motel on Trout lake.  It has a long history.  I'm not going to go into all of it but just tell you a little.  It opened as the Birch Lodge and Hospital and Sanatorium in 1912.  It went through various owners over the years and in 1964 the 8 room brick motel was built next to the main lodge.  What was fun in a creepy sort of way was we had the feeling we were staying at the Bates Motel.  There was the big old house and the mid-century motel next to it.  The rooms were clean and neat and well taken care of but you felt like you had stepped back into the 60's when you walked into the room. ( Every time I went into the bathroom I thought Norman was peeping in the window and you can gurss how I felt taking a shower) The main lodge was a combination of each decade from early 1900 through 1950. For the full history Google the Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI.  Here is a photo taken from the lake when we were on a pontoon boat.

As soon as we got home from our travels I finished this "Fun Flowers" painting and chose other paintings to hang in an exhibition at the Commission on Aging here in Three Rivers.

Back in May I got a call inviting me to show my art at the COA for the months of September and October.  When I asked how they found out about me I was told they saw my work online.  I hung the show yesterday.  Here are some photos of the art I am showing.

This last painting was on a wall by itself.

Now that my traveling is done and the show has been hung it is time to get ready for the art guild holiday show.  I have some ideas for some new subject matter tossing around in my head and am anxious to get started putting them on canvas.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Two successful shows and a few new craft items.

It was a busy weekend.  On Friday evening I showed my art at  "Sass in the City" in downtown Three Rivers and on Sunday I took part in the Corey Lake Orchard Show.  Both events were well attended.  I made lots of contacts that may lead to more shows in the future and also sold some of my art. The local newspaper covered the show on Sunday and a photo showing my display and me interacting with a customer was on the front page along with the article.  I don't have that photo to show you but do have a photo that I took myself  at each of the shows.  The first is Sass in the City and the second is Corey Lake Orchard.

I talked to many people at both shows and I was surprised to find out some of them knew who I was because they had seen my art in places it has shown in the area and remembered my style.  Also some of them owned paintings done by me that they bought at these places.  I realized that after being in MI for less than two years my name and art is gaining recognition!

In the last week before these shows I finished a few craft items.  I did two boxes and a domino train station.  Here are photos of these items.

I will be taking a break from painting for a few weeks.  I have two trips planned.  The first to NC to visit our son Mark and wife Leslie and also see our grandson Michael who will be visiting at the same time.  I'll be home for a week then another trip to the UP.  We have never been to upper Michigan and are looking forward to seeing more of our new home state.