My Way or the Highway-the Lake

Having only found lichens and bare trees to sketch since the snow melted, I walked beside the lake, hopeful of finding the first spring flowers. Crocus buds and blossoms had just bloomed and I sat among them, happily sketching while raindrops pattered around me and on the paper. I walked a few steps toward the lake and sat to sketch it as a background for the wildflowers. When I was almost done, I heard a splash like a body falling into the water, then I heard another. I didn’t hear any gasps or cries like I knew there would be if humans were jumping in a lake where ice had been days ago. Then I heard the muffled voices of the swans. They were talking to each other in that lovely low honk, honk they do right after landing. I looked around a tree and there they were, white against the dark water. I must admit that I was feeling a bit hesitant to sketch them because they are so beautiful and I could so easily make them ugly. I started with the one on the right and thought, “I’ll never get the other one” when it stuck its head under water to feed. I never thought about that pose, but it saved me from drawing two swan heads. The texture in the background is from the raindrops falling on the paper. Who needs an umbrella?

A Home for Grace

When I started the “Painting Facebook Photos” series I looked at so many great photos. One of my friends told me about a friend of hers who lived in Kenya who took lovely photos of orphans. So I went to Kate’s Facebook page and to her blog and saw not only some beautiful photos, but a mother’s heart for her five bio children and the fifteen orphans she and her husband, Johnny have rescued. I painted their eldest “orphannomore” girl, Grace, and named the painting “The Shalom of Grace”.

I didn’t realize when I painted the series that all ten of the images I painted were really a study and a sort of mosaic of shalom, which means peace, but it also means rest, wholeness, safety and completeness as well as the process of all that. Painting Grace gave me an opportunity to see shalom from her perspective in a small way. I don’t know the depths of what she has gone through and won’t pretend to, but I know that she is now safe and in the process of healing and restoration because she is with people who love her and who are committed to care for her.

So in the spirit of shalom, I would like to help Kate and Johnny feed all those hungry mouths. I thought first of auctioning off the painting, but then only one person would have the opportunity to help. So instead, I’m going to give you an opportunity to help by having a drawing for it. If you donate $10 to them on their blog here your name will be put into the drawing. Your name will be added twice if you donate $20, three times if you donate $30, etc. No matter who wins the painting, everyone who gives will be able to help and give shalom. The drawing will begin today and end on Mother’s Day, May 13, at 9pm Alaska Time. You will be notified by email if you won and the painting will be mailed to you.

“The Shalom of Grace” original watercolor 10″x13″

I asked Kate what $10 would buy in Kenya and this was her reply:

“We can buy a thick blanket for a person in need.
Flour for a week or two
Almost 90 eggs (we use 35 eggs per egg meal)
8 lbs of meat (we usually use 4 lbs per meal)
2 lbs of butter
Medicines are relatively cheaper here, so that could buy malaria meds for one person.
40 avocados
15 lbs of tomatoes (we use about 10 lbs for spaghetti or chili)
25 large mangos
16 heads of cabbage”

With a Muffin and a Marker

The online sketch group I’ve joined is full of the most talented people! It has been exciting to see how people fill a page and the possibilities of paper, marker, and a little paint. I’ve seen beautiful letters and exquisite drawings. I’m trying to learn how to design pages in my sketchbook to include words. Letters aren’t easy. A mountain or a tree can have an extra line and it isn’t noticed, but letters aren’t as forgiving. And I’m not going to show you those pages in my sketchbook.

Last night I was hungry for a muffin. Not just any muffin. I wanted the muffin I had in Auckland, New Zealand on our vacation last year. It was full of cheese, spinach and fresh tomatoes. Oh, it was so good with that latte! This muffin is close, and it is only missing the vacation ingredient. I’m going to post the recipe below in case you can’t read the letters from my sketch.

Savory Muffins

Mix one egg, 3/4 cup milk, 1/3 cup oil in small bowl.In larger bowl mix: 2 cups unbleached flour, 1/2 tsp dry mustard, 3 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt. To dry ingredients add: 1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese, 1 cup chopped, uncooked spinach, 1/3 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds. Mix all together and bake in greased muffin cups @ 375 for about 20 minutes or til golden. Makes 12. (I didn’t include this in the sketch because I ran out of room, but I sprinkled the tops with grated Parmesan cheese)

Painting Facebook Photos 3

"Claudia and Lola" 8" x 8" oil

This is Claudia, whom I’ve known since she was a little girl.  Here she is with her horse, Lola. Claudia told me that when she was a young girl, she pinned a tail on herself for several months, convinced that she wasn’t a mere human. She lost the tail and is now a vice principal at a nearby school.

This is the third painting in my Painting Facebook Photos series. The first one is “Ballerina Buddies” , the second is “Fall Walk” . I’m having so much fun with these. I hope it shows in the paintings. The next one I’ve chosen is almost finished. It is a friend’s pet; a colorful character named Hagar.

Claudia and Lola

Two Putt

"Two Putt" 8 x 8 oil

When we vacation in Arizona, my husband plays golf and I paint. Usually I drop him off at a course and I go find a place to paint. One morning the sun was sparkling on the grass and the players. It caught my attention, but the reason for painting this is the relationship between this man and the boy. It has a sparkle all its own.