Plein Air Dork

IMG_3952I hope I have learned a little from this freezing outing to Buescher State Park in Smithville last January. I do own a pair of warm boots, but they only keep your feet warm if you wear them. The lighting was very flat and I did not have much success with my painting. I forgot half of the plein  air necessities that I needed. I did end up making do with what I had and I painted until my hands and feet were numb. IMG_3953My devoted fellow artist was his usual patient self.IMG_3918We retreated to our home base and warmed up with a hot mug of our favorite homemade soup. IMG_3927I filled my tummy and also my craving to paint, by doing a portrait of Tom in his element!

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My Star Pupil

IMG_7653How fun is it to be able to share your (in my case) many passions with someone that you love. Whether it is hopping on a pony to ride the fence line or creating amazing art, this blog will fill in the gaps and help me to share our new life after the Rockin’ P. Did not think I would survive the many changes, but miracles do happen and this gets better with every wrinkle and chipped nail. (haha)

Blessing of the Animals

IMG_5791I am very fortunate that the children who I am teaching art to love animals as much as I do. It was getting a little lonely around the ranch before we moved. Even with the animals, I just could not wait to see the boys at my school where I teach art and my girls who I am teaching here at home. So blessing number one is that we now live 10 minutes from my school. Blessing number two is that my students who come to the house are traveling several miles just to share the love of art with me! True blessing!!! All my students love to share stories about their pets. We draw, paint, play art games and the animals are right here with us. One of the little girls was super worried about one of her dogs who had disappeared. He was found and we were all so happy! Another family was thrilled because their rescue dog was just cleared to come home after having to go through extensive training because of the trauma he had suffered before he found his new home.
Last Saturday, something was very wrong in this house! A very much loved part of the family was no where to be seen! IMG_7874 Kirby our kitty,is an inside cat. She loves just looking out the window. At the ranch, she was a very good mouser…we had a few cute little field mice who managed to scamper around the kitchen at night, but Kirby made sure they did not thrive for very long. So anyway, we were very worried about her and after putting up posters throughout the neighborhood, we had just about lost hope!
It was day five sans Kirby and the weather at night had been below freezing. Add that to the fact that we now live on a very busy street, it did not look good for Miss Kirby. My students on Wednesday afternoon were not a minute through the door…”Where is the cat?” they all wanted to know.I was praying that she was not scared, hurt and suffering. I wanted to KNOW that she was OK. As my last student was ready to leave, she promised to pray for Kirby. The front door had barely shut before we heard LOUD meows from the back yard! Tom opened the door and Kirby flew in and jumped up on her safe perch. She was pretty much fur and bones, but is already looking better after just a few dys.IMG_8446 She is not even interested in looking out the window. She is being cuddled and spoiled. Blessing number three is having her home safe!
Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!!!

Bluebonnet Blues and Sunflowers too many….

IMG_0326This week-end has quenched my thirst for art. Being in the city versus the ranch has made it a challenge to devote time to painting. I find it tempting to visit places that were too distant for the last 18 years. Yesterday we were able to check out the works of Porfirio Salinas at the Witte Museum.IMG_0308There are about 30 of his landscapes on exhibit at the new Texas Heritage Museum. It was amazing to see these oil paintings in a wonderful setting and be able to get inches away to absorb the textures and hues of his work. He sold his first painting when he was in the 3rd grade to his art teacher. Another fact I discovered was that another artist paid Porfirio $5.00 per canvas to paint his bluebonnets for him….if this is true, I can totally relate. IMG_0327This painting of our Longhorn Mesquite Joe was much easier to paint than the one of him with all the sunflowers in the background. The tiny ones at the top are almost done, but will I ever finish them ? I would much rather paint another Cactus Jack sans the wildflowers!!!il_570xN.273353728A big fat stick of pastel and I am done…..

Miss Piggy

il_570xN.330620229-1
“How long do pig’s live?”I was asked a time or two. I am not an authority on pigs, but I read somewhere that 15 was a long life for a pig.Rainbow My Miss Piggy was 13 years old when she died a few weeks ago.She was a micro miniature pig. They are not supposed to ever be more than 10 pounds. I would guess she made it to 210 by the time she was full grown. If kept to a strict diet, she may have been a little less hefty. Portion control has never been an asset of mine when it comes to feeding my pets. It was especially hard when we had 30 acres of peanuts growing in a field for her dining pleasure. “I thought musta been a herd a them feral hogs” Our farmer friend commented. Nope, I said, just one not so miniature pig. The ruts in the field caused by her munching were making it a challenge even for the large tractors to navigate. IMG_8811The last few years, she had slowed down a lot. No more late night visits to the neighbor’s ranch and no more trying to hump buckets. IMG_8509When we left the ranch, Miss Piggy did not want to leave. She squealed like crazy. She was the last to go.I was so worried about who was going to take care of her. I thought it should only be me. We were so fortunate to have a wonderful family who graciously offered to take her along with the rest of the menagerie. One thing that I will always be grateful for, also, I was able to be with her to say good bye for the last time and that made it all ok. She did not suffer.”No offense Mom, but Peggy was taking better care of her than you could give her” Peyton said and I agreed. Breaking the news to Christopher was hard. “Well, did you have pork chops, or what?” He tenderly asked.

Run Piggy Run!!!!

Run Piggy Run!!!!

NO COMMENT!!!!!

Nothing but Blues Skies

Cactus Jack

Our two Longhorns found an open gate and went to visit the neighbors large herd of welcoming cows. As much as we wanted them back, we were not sure how to separate them from their friends without a stampede. Weekday mornings do not allow enough time to do any cattle rustling, but luckily they happened to be hanging out by themselves along our fence line last Saturday morning. Tom opened the gate and led them back to their pasture while their 100 plus friends were wailing and telling them not to leave…..I think the boys are glad to be back. Welcoming treats of carrots and cattle cubes helped a lot! I just finished two new paintings to celebrate their safe return. I have them on my Etsy web site . Click on Leicalady.etsy.com to see all of the Longhorns

Meanwhile back at the Ranch

Our evening routine is simple yet effective for keeping all the pasture ornaments fat and happy!All it takes to produce glee is to open a gate and let the ponies explore and sample…well actually devour the fresh grass that has been growing in their absence.  They will fly around the pasture for about five minutes and then start begging for carrots.Hugs are welcome, too!It is very satisfying to have a small herd who are lovable, sensible and steady.It is heaven to be surrounded by such precious animals, but I do miss the ones who are really in heaven.

Mini Madness

My nieces, the Tincredibles…..I like to call them, because they are twins and incredible….came to visit last week.They made the day so much fun for everyone. Their adorable cousins came with them and could not have been any cuter.

Paige going for a test ride

First on the agenda was a trail ride! The girls picked out their saddles. They had a big choice, from saddle seat, hunt seat and various sized western saddles.

Big day for the little squirt

“Has Mini Mac ever had a saddle on?” Everyone wanted to know. I said not yet, but told them to stand back and prepare for a rodeo. I picked the smallest saddle that we have, but it still dwarfed him!

"My life will never be the same"

The little monster did not think that he could walk at first. He took a few hesitant steps and realized that it was not such a bad deal to join in the fun!

CUTE STUFF!

I was amazed. He must realize that the ponies that get most of the carrots are the ones who are wearing the saddles! He was as laid back as they come. He can get by with just being a pasture ornament, but he could not resist these precious girls! All five of them!

Say cheese! Or carrots!!!!

Reference Photos

It was around 1:00 this afternoon and I told Tom that I would like to shoot some quick photos of our Longhorns, Jack and Joe for a painting that I started. “The lighting is not too great right now” he said. I told him that I had not seen them since early this morning, in fact I had not seen the three ponies that are in the pasture with them, either. Tom was gone for a while and came back with interesting news, not particularly good news…..”The gate to Tip’s property is open….they are gone!”We were still in our running clothes, but did not take the time to change. My first thought was that I might get some actual helpful shots for this painting……

progress of cattle painting

My second thought was that I probably would not have time to paint today…..

help!!!!!

The problem was that our little mish mash herdlet had joined a rowdy bunch of bovines and they outnumbered us by quite a bit.

the cow whisperer

If it was up to me, I would have just turned around, said good bye to our livestock and started a new painting of a bird or a kitten……

gotta keep'em separated

My cowboy, sans the rhinestones would have none of that!

what is going on?

Carrots and cattle cubes are excellent bribes….the problem is that we did not want to cause a stampede of over eager eaters.

rear view mirror

I was tempted to play some good old country music on the radio in the truck for inspiration, but I needed to hear directions from Tom as I churned through the sand…..

move 'em up

“Close the gate!!!!!”

let's hear it for the boys

The ponies were very interested in seeing what treats I had in the truck.

lead pony

Pony Boy and Sunny know the routine of getting rewards for bad behavior.

Ain't no sunshine when you're gone.

Well, we missed out on so much today while we were tracking down the wayward pasture ornaments….I was planning on ironing and mending some socks….but in spite of it all, they are so cute when they are bad!!!!

follow me home

Now We Know!

Velvet and Hailey were having a great time grooming each other this morning. I was so glad to see little Velvet being so sociable. She  is the darker Bay pony on the right. Most of the time, she is off by herself.

green eyed monster!

They were just fine, until Bailey stopped stuffing himself and noticed that his girlfriend, Hailey was hanging out with Velvet!

sorry, Velvet....three's a crowd

So, that is why Velvet keeps her distance from the green eyed monster…..I think Bailey needs a time out…..in the round pen!