Grand Goudine

For years I drove past this pasture filled with yellow flowers and thought how much I would enjoy painting it.  I realized the property backed up to a subdivision near my home so I would get out for a few hours to paint. I met the owner as he was cutting the field as I was painting it. I asked if I could paint the  front of the property, and he and his wife were happy for my painting friends and me to spend time working there. It has become our go-to place during the stay-home order this spring.

This property has become one of my favorite landscapes to paint. 11″ x 14″ $400

 

For the Love of Dogs

Maggie Mae was a beloved member of her family.

The love a dog has for his/her human is second only to that of a mother for her child. Even though I don’t consider myself a dog person, I know this is true. Growing up, we had several dogs and cats, but we were not really a pet family. One of my sisters loved horses and dogs, and  since we could house a dog more easily than a horse, we had dogs. My sister also likes cats but is highly allergic to them, which is sad, because her name is Cat. But I digress.

Dogs are loyal friends who think their owners are the Best Person Ever. “Be the person your dog thinks you are” is a great mantra. When  a dog passes, a part of the owner’s  heart is lost as well. I came to better understand this as several of my friends’ dogs crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I felt their sadness as well.

The first painting I ever did of a dog was part of a family portrait. Unfortunately, the person who commissioned  the portrait thought the dog looked better than her children. I still have that painting. One day the children in the painting will look like her sons. Anyway, I found painting pets to be extremely satisfying, especially when the picture filled a space in the owner’s heart.

Baby was always happy to see me because I played fetch with her.

I commented to my husband that it seemed odd  people would commission a portrait when there were probably hundreds of photos of their pet on their phone. He said (wisely) that having a painting was a memorial. A memorial to love second only to that of a mother for her child.

St. Joseph Street Sidewalk

The hibiscus along the sidewalk on St. Joseph Street in Beauregard Town, Baton Rouge, were the size of dinner plates. People stopped their vehicles to jump out to take a photo of them. 9″ x 12″ oil on panel, $350. 
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Use Your Good Things

My sisters and I were compiling a list of the comments our mother repeated to us during the years. I remember Mother stating many times, “Life is not fair,” but that did not make the cut. Some bits of wisdom which did make it are as follows:

  • Stand up straight
  • Make the best of what you have
  • Ask people their names and use them
  • Always notice something nice about people
  • Wear sunscreen 
  • Wear your pretty things

Wear your pretty things. I remember Mother also saying:

  • Use your good things
Beautiful crystal, china, and silver should not be reserved for special occasions. Enjoy nice things daily.

For people of a certain age, that may mean using the silverware, china, and crystal received as wedding gifts. I try to do that, even though it must be washed by hand.

For a long time, I tried to save money on art materials and equipment. After painting for a while,  I eventually splurged on a plein air easel, began using professional grade paints, and discover how much easier it is to paint on a quality substrate. But I was slacking on my brushes.

A year ago, I had an opportunity to purchase Rosemary brushes at a convention. Everyone in my studio had them and talked about how great they were. So I bought some. Took them home. Put them in a nice container and looked at them, thinking I would save them for a “good” painting.

What was I thinking?

Brushes (as well as jewelry) make great Christmas and birthday gifts.

How was I to know when the “good” painting was about to happen?

What if they were lost during a plein air event?

It took six months to get the courage to use them, and that was only because a workshop instructor used them almost exclusively. Hey, if I want to make great paintings too, shouldn’t I use the same brushes? So I dipped those Rosemarys in paint, put them to canvas, and was hugely surprised at what a joy they were to use and how much easier it was to paint with them. Why had I waited so long?

Life is short.

Use your good things.