The sky got very dark this afternoon. I had just put the horses in their stalls when this little one stepped out into view. He was followed by 3 does and their fawns, then a couple yearlings, then a 3-point buck. Unfortunately, I didn't get a pic of the whole group, since I ran to the house to avoid getting drenched. Maybe next time. I love seeing the deer, but cringe when driving the roads this time of year. The deer are everywhere and tend to jump out at a moments notice. I've had some close calls.
Today was a good day to harvest some fresh mints in my little herb garden. Among my favorite plants are Peppermint, Spearmint and Lemon Balm. All are good to make teas or cook with. Here is a summer recipe I love: Lemon Balm and Mint Potatoes
1 dozen small potatoes, scrubbed clean, 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh mint of your choice, 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh lemon balm, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 to 2 crushed garlic cloves. Boil your potatoes till firm, then set them aside to cool. Combine all the other ingredients and pour over the cold potatoes. Chill for 1 hour.
Teas are super easy: 1 cup lemon balm leaves, 1 cup spearmint, leaves. Optional add to's:
* a couple tablespoons orange peel (grated)
* 1/4 tablespoon clove
Pour 1-1/2 to 2 cups of boiling water over all...steep for a few minutes and strain. Add honey or not, and sip slowly! These mints all make great 'natural' bug repellents too. Just make an infusion and keep in a spray bottle in the fridge. Yes, the mint repellent needs to be applied more often than it's chemical counterparts, but they're safer to use.
How do YOU know when to quit working on a piece? I decided to leave the second Fjordhorse in the background incomplete and just concentrate on the one in the foreground. While some of the elements came together OK, other parts just didn't want to cooperate. Rather than continue on with this one, I'm leaving it alone. This is as far as I want to go with it. I don't mind it being sort of 'sketchy' looking. I'd like to hear from other artists when they've decided enough is enough on their work. Anybody?
I decided to take most of today off and found myself doing some sketching. I was thinking about the horses and how much they mean to me. They've gotten me through some bad days lately. Here is a quick 'in progress' sketch I'm working on. It's from a reference photo of my mare "Laila", (before I let her mane grow) and Solvin, the gelding I just placed into a new home. While I am happy he's found a useful job and great home, I sure do miss Solvin. He is such a sweet fellow and a wonderful model too. I'll try to remember to post the final sketch when completed.
My life has been turned upside down this year and I've fallen behind on so many things. Some of those things include saying my thank you's. I can't forget some of the nicest and talented people I've met cyber-ly (is that even a word?). Soooo, without further adieu :
Many thanks to Carl and Dottie for my "Passion for Painting Award"! Their great blog can be found here: www.havebrushwilltravel.blogspot.com If you can, please take a look at some of their beautiful works!
Now, on to telling you 7 things I love:
1. Number one will always be my family
2. My animals
3. My art
4. Embroidery + Sewing
Gosh, finding 7 people who haven't received this award....Hhhmmmm (if you've already received this award...well, you deserve it twice as much!)
I took this pic of my 'Papa' in 2007, while in the waiting room at the Doctor's office. Dad was intrigued by the idea of taking photos with a phone. He also enjoyed learning a bit about computers. We were even able to reunite him with his long lost brother in Europe through the internet.
Sadly, my Dad passed away from total organ failure, in his home on June 2ND, 2009. He was 81. The first thing to go were his kidneys, then his beleaguered heart. We were fortunate to receive support from the Cleveland Clinic's hospice team. The Clinic's nurse visited once or twice a week to see if we had questions or needed a change in pain medication for Dad. A Home Health Aide and Social Worker would pop in on occasion too.
And then there was Father Abraham, who stopped by whenever Dad needed spiritual support. He isn't supposed to get too close with the patients he sees, but later admitted Dad became more of a friend, than client. They really seemed to enjoy each others company. After Dad's passing, we were honored Fr. Abe agreed to preside over the funeral...on his day off no less. Fr. Abraham is from Kenya and brought with him many life experiences and stories. What a comfort and inspiration he is.
While the Clinic team did our family allot of good, the every day chores were up to us. Much of our 'education' in caring for someone who is dying, was on the spot. While I know we did the right thing by taking Dad home (instead of leaving him in a nursing home), I didn't fully realize how difficult the process was going to be. Giving Dad the proper type and dosage of drugs, feeding him, bathing him, changing diapers and bedding, administering suppositories, scheduling visitors, transporting him to the emergency room for Foley catheter changes...much of it was pretty unpleasant. Forget modesty. There were 'mentally' painful days for him as well. Dad's dementia had worsened considerably and he often forgot who we were and where he was. He would become very agitated and yell some pretty awful things. The bad days were heartbreaking and none I'd want to repeat in my lifetime. The good days I will cherish forever.
After living in Dad's house for the past few months, dealing with his death, as well as continuing to worry about how we will survive without my husband's income...well, it takes a toll on you. Life's full of challenges, right? I guess I'm coping. We are finally back at getting the house and property ready for sale, making small repairs, throwing out clutter, cleaning, etc. It will be hard to say goodbye to this place, especially with so many wonderful memories attached to it.
I haven't decided what to do with my 2 horses, should our place sell quickly (though with the economy the way it is...not likely). I'm not fond of the idea of boarding my mare and gelding, but do not want to give them up. Board would be costly. They are both older equines and deserve to retire in peace. Petey (my gelding) is coming 22. And Laila (like me) is officially 'a senior citizen'. The horses have been wonderful therapy for me these past few months. A trail ride through the woods does wonders and I'm trying to take advantage of it while I still can. I will get back to art soon. I'm beginning to feel a tiny bit of creativity creeping back into my soul. I know it's there somewhere!
After a difficult 18 hour 'hospice' day at my Dad's house, I came home to find a bit of good (but bittersweet) news in my email box! Solvin, my sweet (and handsome) 11 yr.old Norwegian Fjord gelding, has found a new home. He will be living with the Velikys in VA, at Edenbrook Farm. You can visit them at: www.edenbrookfarm.blogspot.com, and www.edenbrookfarm.org . The Veliky's 'Edenbrook Farm' is a therapeutic place for the mind, body and soul. The mentoring relationship built in their program fosters learning, self-discovery and personal growth. Their program will build confidence in participants through exploration of God's wonderful world of animals, gardening and wildlife. Solvin, (along with another super Fjordhorse named Gustav), will provide hours of enjoyment and learning opportunites to all Edenbrook visitors, both young and old. What a great job Solvin will have, I'm so proud of him.
I managed to paint uninterrupted most of today and that doesn't happen too often! I've completed 1 plaque and have started the 2nd of 3. It's nice to have accomplished something, especially since I'm anticipating the upcoming BIG painting. My photos aren't the best, it's been so dark and dreary...bad lighting.
I have been busy with several commissioned items. I was asked to paint three 9" x 12" welcome plaques, featuring Old English Sheepdogs. What an adorable breed! Here are 2 'in progress' pics of one of the welcome plaques. I'll need to complete these 3 little plaques first, before tackling a much larger project. Photos of the completed plaque should be posted in the next day or so.
A pencil sketch...
Starting to paint...
The larger project in the works is a good sized, 24" x 36" oil painting that will include 4 dogs and 2 cats. This painting will be challenging, but fun. I've not had the opportunity to incorporate 6 different pets into one painting for someone. The client and I will look over my sketches and ideas sometime in the coming week.
I just love Gails's depictions of Friesians. Her art captures their majestic presence so wonderfully! And Akiko....what can I say? I'm always floored by her art. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of detail, love and joy Akiko puts into every piece she creates. My thanks to you both. Now I must come up with a list of seven things about me...Hhmmm:
1. As most of you know, I adore nearly any living creature on this earth. Horses, Dogs and Cats top the list. Those are followed by their wild counterparts. I marvel at Zebras, Wolves and Tigers.
2. I enjoy the outdoors very much, year round...although I admit, I find subzero weather best enjoyed from behind a double insulated window pane lately!
3. My family is extremely important to me. Husband and children are always top priority.
4. I've recently taken up baking Artisan Breads. Crunchy crusts, steamy insides slathered with real butter....ooooh. Bread is one of my favorite foods (can you tell?).
5. I really miss trail riding in Connecticut with my friends. Before we moved to Ohio, we were fortunate enough to live within a short riding distance of a beautiful forest. You could ride for miles...and we did, every chance we got.
6. I love to cook and have a book stashed away for my children to use in the future. It includes their favorite dishes with hand written recipes and illustrations.
7. I would love to devote more time to my art...specifically painting. I will do my best this year!
Alrighty then, I've been tagged by Jennifer, of Gypsy Mare Studios. Jen's lovely blog can be found at: http://gypsymare.blogspot.com/ This is my first time being 'tagged'. I see I should reveal 6 random things about myself. Here goes: #1 I'm a bit of a 'night owl'. Sometimes by choice, sometimes not. #2 Horses...LOVE them! Always have, always will. I didn't have the means or $$$ to own a horse until I was 40 years of age. #3 I don't mind spending time alone. I actually enjoy it very much, but I'm not anti-social. #4 I can be a perfectionist...'nuf said! #5 I would have loved to become a Veterinarian. With the number of animals living here, I've learned to take care of alot on my own. That includes vaccinating and worming my horses, helping mares during foaling, treating and binding all sorts of wounds + sprains. #6 I have rather eclectic tastes as far as music goes...if I like it, I'll turn it up! Music can really inspire me while painting. Now, off to find someone else to tag!
I don't know why exactly, but it's been a very long time since I've sat down to do more art. I suppose between the holidays + other 'life's' happenings, I've had little desire to paint or draw.
So, Finally a new piece from me...a 11" x 14" pastel work, modeled after (now don't laugh) a very black Friesian mare I once owned. Nellie was not this lovely shade of coppery chestnut, nor did she have a speck of white on her, but her body type was just as I've depicted. She was definitely a baroque horse, every last little CHUNK of her.
I came across a photo I took of her many years ago, in our back pasture, having a grand ole time...galloping around, carefree and happy. Loved that mare. She gave us a beautiful colt too, sired by Ludse. The stallion 'Ludse' has since been exported back to the Netherlands.
I hope you enjoy this work...more will be on the way. I am a member of A4C, otherwise known as 'Art for Critters'. A portion of the proceeds of this work will go to benefit SCER, the S.Carolina Equine Rescue. Art available on eBay currently.
Painter Andrew Wyeth died today at the age of 91. Mr. Wyeth died in his sleep at his home in Philadelphia . It was often said Mr. Wyeth portrayed the 'hidden melancholy' of the people and landscapes of PA's Brandywine Valley and coastal Maine in works such as "Christina's World".
Patrick McGoohan, the creator and star of the late 1960s television series "The Prisoner" died yesterday after a brief illness, aged 80.
I loved that show! Gosh, when I stop to think of how many of my favorite entertainers have passed away during the past year...well, it's a bit disconcerting!
Just a few that have recently died: Charlton Heston (Ten Commandments), Paul Newman (Cool Hand Luke), Suzanne Pleshette (The Bob Newhart Show), Roy Scheider (Jaws) , Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain), Dick Martin (Laugh In), Harvey Korman (The Carol Burnett Show), Majel Barrett (Star Trek), Bill Melendez (Cartoonist~Charlie Brown) and just today...Ricardo Montalban of Fantasy Island.
It's like having a tiny part of yourself disappear. No, I didn't know any of them personally, but I did invest myself emotionally in their movie, stage and TV show personas. Some I even had a crush on...heck I was in my early to mid teens at the time. Who didn't go 'ga-ga' over one of the Beatles or a handsome leading man on the silver screen? Bonanza, Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Wild, Wild West to name a few were awesome shows! Their characters had scruples. You know: honesty, integrity and a dose of humour tossed in for good measure. There wasn't a gory murder scene or disgusting expletive appearing every 10 seconds. No obligatory nudity. Anyway, I digress....
I'm reminded of how quickly time passes with news like this. It's a gauge of my own mortality. OK...so that was depressing. Forgive my ranting, I'm getting old. LOL
Snow, snow and more snow!! Yikes, this past weekend was something else. Lots and lots of snow...and uh, shoveling. About 24" worth in one day. Since we are basically snowed in, it's good time to catch up on my embroideries and artwork. I have a few new listings posted on eBay, Bonanzle and Etsy! So, if you don't feel like dealing with the snow today...stop on by and take a peek at my offerings. Thanks!
PS: My horses don't mind the snow and cold weather much. The Norwegian Fjordhorses? Well, think 'mounts of the Vikings' (no, not the Minnesota Vikings, although it feels like Minnesota weather here in Ohio right about now...brrr). My Friesian gelding is also from sturdy stock. Friesians originate from Friesland...(the Netherlands). Think 'the horse that carried knights & warriors'...and royalty too! Here is a photo taken of my 2 Fjordhorses a few weeks ago:
Yes, I know...it's a bit early to offer Valentine's Day items...but hey, it's cold outside and I'm already looking forward to Spring. Besides, Friesians, Hearts and Flowers don't have to be limited to just one time of year.
This design is embroidered onto a warm, crewneck sweatshirt. Just right for several months to come!
I'm happy to omit the breed name and add a name instead, for FREE! Makes a nice gift for someone special.
I am an artist with a 35+ year background in commercial and fine art. My favorite subjects are animals of all kinds. I am a member of several artist's groups (ACEO groups, KATS & WHOA), but the one dearest to my heart is 'Art for Critters'. The A4C group has raised and donated thousands of dollars for a number of animal charities. Thanks for stopping by to read a bit about me!
Creating and promoting artwork takes many hours of work. It involves planning, producing and marketing. Please respect my rights and don't steal. This includes 'capturing' (right clicking) or sharing my images with others before asking. Thank you.
The Copyright of all artwork posted here remains the sole property of the artist. When a purchase of my art is made, the reproduction rights are not automatically transferred to the buyer. The reproduction rights may be available for purchase, so please inquire.