Monday, June 22, 2009

Hummers...WTTW WOWS...Shack update

The submissions to Windows to the Words "Old Folks" challenge are awesome with talent. Three more have just been added Liz Holm, Deb Keirce, Dana Cooper and Cathyann Burgess. Click HERE to view em.

One of my latest commissioned artwork
s is this hummingbird. The lady that ordered it wanted a ruby-throated hummingbird and the rest was totally up to me. This is what I came up with. I'm not real happy with the red rose...I need to get some lessons on painting roses. Anyway, I Texas-sized and stylized the hummingbird (artistic license, right?). I hope she likes it. My sister likes it, but she's biased.

Hummingbirds are among my neighbors at THE SHACK. Not just a few... Jillions! I put out a feeder and it took about 10 minutes for the first one to find it. He sent out invitations by the score. I put out some more feeders. The hummers increased exponentially. I was painting under the trees a couple of days ago, and I thought I was being attacked by killer bees. The
re was at least two dozen swarming just over my head. While I was painting this piece, one came and hovered over it about 8 inches from my nose...cheeky little dudes.

Okay, so now I've told you about the goats and hummingbirds I have for neighbors. I pictured below just a few more of my residential associates. The one in the mask tried to come in the window last night and Pokey and TacoBell freaked out. There's plenty more, and next time I'll get into the inside denizens.

That's right, PEACOCKS. The neighbors have a peacock and several hens. The peacock goes strutting around occasionally making a sound like...kwak, kwak. But then, later, when they all get into vocalizing. The sound is almost cat like...Heeee Yowwww! Except loud enough to shatter Coke bottles.

A few more shots of THE SHACK....

Occasional Sleeping Quarters

Paint a while, Dump a while

House Cleaning by Alamo Demolition Service

Be sure and watch for some upcoming surprises and news....And A Fourth of July "Blog Party".

Thought for the Blog. Dogs consider us the Lord and Master of the household.
Cats consider us part of the staff.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Karin Jurick's Different Strokes From Different Folks Challenge this time was just fun. Fun, period. I like still lifes. She displayed in her reference photo a generous amount of dramatic shadows which opened the door to contrast playground. I strayed from my usual format of adding an element of humor and surprise. I'm sorry I did that. After I had already E-Mailed my submission to Karin, I looked at my painting and visualized two little white eyeballs peeking out of the black shadow between the corn and tomatoes. Wish I had put em there....darn.

Karin received about 130 submissions...not counting the ones she had to take the shotgun to. Methinks Karin is a bit "twea
ked" at times trying to keep up with her challenge. Karin is an exceptionally good artist, and a noted professional with a schedule that would drive most folks bonkers. The time she spends with DSFDF is considerable and, I'm sure, very frustrating at times. Many of us are computer "Know-Littles" who submit stuff to her that has to be deciphered ...dissected...transcribbled and french-fried. Po' Karin...I feel for her.

I have started Windows to the Words, and
after 4 months, the challenge has had moderate success. I'll keep it up, because it is a good thing. The artwork I have received has been marvelous...and if I get just one person who contributes and enjoys doing....then that's fine. Challenges abound, but it takes work on the host's part and participation from fellow artists. Michelle Burnett's "Following the Masters" is an example of a rewarding and well-done challenge...she deserves a bunch of kudos for her efforts.

The morning I posted this month's 3 reference photos, i received a submission from New Delhi, India. From a delightful young lady who is an outstanding artist with a charming blog. Her name is Arti Chauhan, and her site deserves a visit. I have showcased her piece. On WTTW ART it is shown along with three others... David Larson Evans, Liana Yarckin and Beckie Saar Leone. It is because of connections like this...from the hill country of Texas to New Delhi, India, and back again...that gives me hope and confidence for our future. My thanks for all of you who take the time to participate.

Next month the WTTW Challenge is dogs. Dogs. DOGS. DOGS!!!! I don't have any photos yet. None. Zip. BOO HOO. Send me a pitcher of your dog. Your neighbor's dog. A dog at the vet. HELP!!! Send your mutt's mugs to

Thought for the Blog: Robert Burns..." Oh what gift the Giftie gives see ourselves as others see us"

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nancy Medina for President Of Texas and a Poas for Michelle

On June 9, Nancy Medina of "Nancy and the Fatties" gave me a "Welcome Back to Texas" blog. Between me, Pokey and TacoBelle, I don't know who was the happiest. You can view it by clicking HERE. She is such a sweetie...she even included a link to "Luckenbach," However, with the wild weather they've been having up there in Flower Mound, Willie Nelson's "Blue Skies" might have been a better choice.

Anyway, in appreciation, I went and painted a big portrait of Nancy and one of her pugs, Annie. While I was finishing it, some guy in a Rolls Royce comes by and plops down a twenty dollar bill and says he has to have it. Well, living on Beanie-Weenies and Kool-Aid like the starving artist I am, ....I grabbed it up. Now, it seems this guy flew the painting to France and managed to display it in the Louvre. That's it above, getting the atention of a couple of admirers. Okay, maybe not....but it was a neat thought....I get carried away sometimes. Now then, if Texas does secede from the union, I'll nominate Nancy for its first President.

Michelle Burnett is the mastermind and originator of the charming challenge blog "Following the Masters" featured landscapes for this month. I haven't done many landscapes. I'm not so good at landscapes. I'm much better with smily faces. However, I did a landscape. There's a part of my heart that will always be attached to Costa Rica, so I did a scene of Poas volcano....a placeI have visited several times. Poas is indeed picturesque, and I have provided a photo shot of it. The hummingbird hiking trail at the top is marvelous. The problem with Poas is that it is smack dab in the middle of one of Costa Rica's largest cloud forests. Quite often, if you go to Poas, all you see is nothing....nothing but gray foggy mist. It's in a cloud. The first time I went there, it was that gray, foggy mist.

I stood at the lookout deck and saw a scene reminiscent of Hound of the Baskervilles. You could hear a rumbling noise far below, like a dozen bulldozers in dire need of a maintenance overhaul. But when it is clear it is splendid. Poas is active, but fairly well behaved. it just belches and snorts, and throws up a few geysers and such.....kinda like me, sorta.

OOPS...update (added 11 A.M. CST 6-15-09) I sowwy...esculpe....duh! Michelle had put in her instructions that this challenge was to be from a landscape done by a past master artist. I am one of those
people who buys something, ignores the instructions and then has 22 parts left over on a thing that doesn't work..."Instrucshuns? Instrucshuns? I don't need no shtinkin' Instrucshuns!!"
So this morning I did a landscape from a portion of Botticelli's Anunciation. It is below. Duh, again.

Cya in a day or two...try to sketch or paint one of the old folks on Windows to the Words and send it to me. And have a great weekend.

Thought for the blog: The best thing about being financially limited (poor) is not having so much "stuff" to distract ya from the important things in life.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fixer-Upper, Windows to Costa Rica

It's been almost 2 months since I've moved to Texas from Costa Rica. Those 2 months have been a constant state of confusion. One of the main reasons for all that confusion is that I hadn't really figured out where to hang my hat. I needed a place that was in the country, yet not too far from civilization. Close to the art communities, yet remote enough to be safe for Pokey and TacoBelle and quiet enough for serious painting. Somewhere I could get reasonable Internet service, but be quite affordable. I found it. And I have pictured it below...THE SHACK

"Surely you jest" you may say. Well, THE SHACK does need a bit of attention. It could use indoor plumbing. And two replacement windows. And a ceiling. But it does have a nice outhouse. And a roof. And a few other things. But it's really just perfect. sort of. And it is a great place to paint. And great neighbors, pictured below.

As I gradually "do something" to THE SHACK, I will keep ya posted.

I have been working on a few art commissions and have visited many of the neat art galleries in this area. I am currently displayed in 3 small galleries, and soon to be in several others. One gallery I contacted, I had shown the owner a WIP that was almost completed...something I started In Costa Rica, but kinda put it on a back burner....Windows to Costa Rica
. It illustrates 30 various wildlife species in a little "window", with a painted rock border and other embellishments. He wants me to finish it, and paint a miniature for each of the 30 vignettes. He would then have a limited number of giclee prints made of the miniatures and would display the large painting and the miniatures around it.
That's it below. I'll let ya know how that goes.

Thought for the Blog: Happiness is not a thing. It is an attitude.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Hmmm...between weird Internet connections, artwork commissions, family activities, readjusting to the U.S., feeding my dogs and finding a place to hang my blog life hasn't come close to reaching an acceptable and sane level. Please don't give up on me.

The May 8 blog featuring the Empty Easel had 20 comments. I wrote every commentor's name on a piece of paper and drew one...Michelle Burnett. So, Michelle will be getting an original 8 x 10 frog painting from me to hang in her closet, or under the sink, or some other appropriate place.

My son, Mark, his wife Melinda, and their two boys, Tyler and Andrew.
Fairly normal looking......huh?

Their Dog, Lola Lou.
Fairly abnormal looking....huh?

My son, Mark, and his wife, Melinda, and their two boys, Tyler and Andrew have two dogs. Those two dogs are, to say the least, unusual. One of them belongs to a breed that has the dubious distinction of being selected as the "World's Ugliest Dog" for two years in a row. Above is the picture of "Lola Lou" an African crested. Despite having one eye weird, paws like an alien, splotches like a Jackson Pollock project, and hair in strange places, she is very lovable. Except nervous and afraid of everything...if you sneeze, she'll go hide in the corner and wonder what she did to offend you. Below is the reference photo I used, and my finished "Poochtrait".

And below, is their other dog, Piddles. An age old chihuahuamutt
that is half blind, very feeble, goes around sticking her tongue out all the time, but would do anything in the world for you...sweet dog.

So I've started doing pet portraits big time. I've already done a few and hope to get better as I go along. I've got pet shops in the area supplied with a little poster and order forms...with their commission and ten bucks going to the local animal shelter. You can see more "Poochtraits" on Daily Pain Things by clicking DPT

And Windows to the Words finished May with not too many submissions for the Sunrise/Sunset challenge, but those submitted were nice. This month's challenge is Old Fo
lks..Love them wrinkles. And below is just one of the references for this month....submitted by Liz Holmes. You can see the others by clicking WTTW.

Thought for the Blog: It is often easier to try, than to prove it can't be done.