I 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. My devoted fellow artist was his usual patient self.We retreated to our home base and warmed up with a hot mug of our favorite homemade soup. I filled my tummy and also my craving to paint, by doing a portrait of Tom in his element!
How 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)
I 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! 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. 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!!!
This 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.There 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. This 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!!!A big fat stick of pastel and I am done…..
“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. 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. The 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. When 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.
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
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……
My second thought was that I probably would not have time to paint today…..
The problem was that our little mish mash herdlet had joined a rowdy bunch of bovines and they outnumbered us by quite a bit.
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……
My cowboy, sans the rhinestones would have none of that!
Carrots and cattle cubes are excellent bribes….the problem is that we did not want to cause a stampede of over eager eaters.
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…..
“Close the gate!!!!!”
The ponies were very interested in seeing what treats I had in the truck.
Pony Boy and Sunny know the routine of getting rewards for bad behavior.
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!!!!
The first two days that my back goes out on me. I can’t run. I am asking What? Why? What did I do that was so hard. I have kept a journal of my running and this includes major events or just what I had for dinner the night before. I looked back in my notes, a few years…since I could not run, hardly walk or do the normal things that I love, like cleaning the house. The physical trauma that causes the injury, is always second to the emotional blow that has occurred.In this case, it was losing my 30 year old horse. Maybe if I could predict the outcome, I could prevent it. I will have to work on that….Looking on the bright side, I always realize how much I love to read, when it is hard to do anything else. Too bad I have to glean this information on such painful terms. After a few days, I settle into the routine of the couch potato. I am reading a book by Stephen Covey. It is a perfect compliment to the book I just finished….The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. Neither of these books will ever be finished or put on the shelf. I will refer back to them and share them. The Artist’s way is a twelve week course. The course is designed to unblock creativity….One of the exercises is called morning pages. Writing three pages every morning has been so much fun. It is fun because it is designed to be. I don’t edit, delete and I don’t include any bad words, in case a child would find it. It is not a novel. It is dull. The book, however, and the practices that it brings into play are anything but dull. Another exercise is called Artist’s Date. This can be a trip to an art gallery, taking a workshop or anything, even a movie by yourself. Ideally by yourself. This book is for anyone, not just artist’s, but all walks of life. I had this book for over a year until I took the time to read it. I will continue to practice everything that has been introduced in this treasure of a book. You will be in for many wonderful discoveries about your inner artist that will have you dancing, singing, painting or writing or just noticing ordinary things through a new lens….Don’t waste another day! Check out The Artist’s Way !!!!!
In the words of Paul Simon
You know life is what we make it
So beautiful or so what
I’m gonna tell my kids a bedtime story
A play without a plot
Will it have a happy ending?
Maybe yeah, maybe not
I tell them life is what you make of it
So beautiful or so what
Some people are like flowers, they are sooooo beautiful. There is a lot of so what and so awful in the world, but I will never be inspired by that.
I started painting the waves and the clouds, but with Sky the Aussie sitting in front of me, I couldn’t help but add those brown eyes and sweet smile…..I might finish it at home…..