Dolly's Drive

"Dolly's Drive".

This week, the incomparable DOLLY PARTON celebrates her 50th year being a member of the Grand Old Opry. I like to imagine her driving through the Smokey Mountains, singing with the windows rolled down.
Long live Dolly!

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I'm joining Folktale Week 2019!

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I'm joining Folktale Week 2019 - here's my badge! Folktales, myths, fairy tales and legends are near and dear to my heart. This year I'm going to create my own folktales at a piece of art to accompany each story.

(This painting is “Rose & Buckeye”…I’ll show you more later. )
How it works:⠀
The Folktale Week subjects (prompts) will be released via the hosts Instagram accounts on Oct 7th. Follow them all (below) to find them. Then, on Nov 4th, follow the prompts and share a piece of the art you made in response to them each day. Interpret the prompts however you like. Everyone is encouraged to join in the fun.
Folktale Week 2019 was developed by a group of talented artists from all around the world. Be sure to check out their profiles for inspiration and follow them to find the Folktale Week subjects on October 7th and their take on Folktale Week. Follow #folktaleweek2019 on Instagram to find everyone. Let me know if you’re going to participate!

Halloween Costume & Carnival Time!

Are you done with your Halloween costume? Noooo? Why not?
Just kidding…we haven’t even STARTED. My daughters change their minds eleventy-three-billion times before October 31st. Then, at some point I say THAT’S IT. Last chance to pick or I choose for you. That usually works.

If you need some help in the ‘What are we going to be for Halloween this year?” department, have a look at my Pinterest costume boards.

Have multiple people in your house? Here is my Halloween Family Costume board.
This works for friends and office mates, too.

(from Woman’s Day)

(from Woman’s Day)

(from No Biggie)

(from No Biggie)



Are you more old school? Here are Vintage Halloween Costumes.

That’s not creepy or anything, is it?

That’s not creepy or anything, is it?

(from 365daysofhalloween)  I can never get enough Lucille Ball!

(from 365daysofhalloween) I can never get enough Lucille Ball!

Catrina's Web

"Catrina's Web"
8" x 10", acrylic and oil on wood panel
I painted a garden spider (What do you call them where you live?) with a Catrina's face to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. The Catrina is a female skeleton figure that has become symbolic of death in Mexico, and a joyful embodiment of the Day of the Dead festivities. It has a lot more depth and history to it as well, but that's the explanation in a nutshell.
I adore garden spiders! (yellow garden spider-Argiope aurantia)
The females usually stay close to one place for their lifetime. I think of them as cozy little guardians around the house and garden, eating up flies and mosquitoes. A friend of mine named hers, and I name mine, too. The one that live outside my studio window is Jane...after Jane Austen, because this species is also referred to as the "writing spider". They have so many different local names.

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Autumn is finally here!

Autumn is my absolute favorite time of the year. Although it doesn’t really feel like it yet here in Texas, something about the slow slide into shorter days and cooler temperatures and changing leaves makes me feel like everything is right with the world. I’ve been poking around the studio and adding fall things here and there. The girls love decorating their own rooms and are always bringing in acorns and pretty leaves from the woods. It seems strange that little things would make such a difference, but if I stick a velvet pumpkin in a corner somewhere, I smile every time I walk by it.
--->What do you guys to do around your home to make it feel like fall?

These are Piper's 3 favorite horses. We decided to give them velvet ribbons for autumn. They are L to R...Zeke, Starfire, and Lily. Starfire is Piper's favorite. She says Zeke and Lily are older and won't let Starfire play with them. Poor Starfire.

These are Piper's 3 favorite horses. We decided to give them velvet ribbons for autumn. They are L to R...Zeke, Starfire, and Lily. Starfire is Piper's favorite. She says Zeke and Lily are older and won't let Starfire play with them. Poor Starfire.

AUTUMN in the studio!

AUTUMN in the studio!

Starting the day with a little Yoga with Adrienne. She's great. Do any of you watch her videos?

Starting the day with a little Yoga with Adrienne. She's great. Do any of you watch her videos?


Piper likes hand shadow games so I found these prints in an old educational book and framed them


My sweet Violet. I love taking walks with her out in the woods. She's my little nature nut.


Ukelele time at the treehouse platform. They finished the treehouse! I'll have to show you completed photos soon.


She embroidered a fox for one of her teachers. We sure are lucky to have such great teachers at the school. Mwah, to all the teachers out there!


Orange stuff everywhere. That's one of my favorite colors.

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A huge herd of deer visited the meadow this week. I played penny whistle for them. I swear they really listen...see their ears?


Reading reading always reading.


Late afternoon light was made just for autumn.

Early Morning Walk

Early morning walk in the woods. I learned a new trick to thwart horseflies. When they won't leave me alone, I find a spider web and walk back and forth by it for a while. Eventually, I was able to get them to fly into the web. I disposed of five horse flies this way! You're welcome spiders. And look at those cute slugs sitting on a mushroom.


Texas Cartoonists Summer 2019

It was great to see all of the Texas Cartoonists this weekend. An extra big congratulations to Bill Hinds...he's celebrating 45 years of Tank McNamara and 30 years of Buzz Beamer. Woohoo!
I wish I’d gotten photos of everyone..there are more cartoonists running around but they were in the pool or gnoshing.
People who write and draw cartoons and comics are pretty awesome folks. :)

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Cassiopeia Dream

To celebrate the arrival of August, I have another #ThrowbackThursdaypainting:

Throwback Thursday…

I shared this “painting process” a few years ago, and want to revisit it since the theme was “August & yellow”:
Okay...this has a long explanation, but...I'm in an online creativity/artists' group, and this week's challenge was...make something inspired by the color yellow. It's so hot and so dry and so inarguably AUGUST around here.

I spent a day in the studio with my daughters, but only had a 2-3 hour chunk of time to paint with them, including set up, painting, and clean up. So I wanted to do something fairly quick and not too detailed.

Tons of things on my mind lately: Violet goes back to school next week. Although I like structure and routine, I'll miss the freedom to do what we want when we want and the time I have with her during the day. We stayed up late this week to watch the Perseid meteor shower together. I saw more than I've ever seen, particularly long ones that stretched across the sky. I tried to recreate the constellations of Perseus and Cassiopeia somewhat accurately, and put the meteors I saw in the correct place from memory. I fell asleep during the hottest part of the day today with the girls and dreamed of stars.

Last night, I dreamed of Dusty, Charlie Blaylock's son who is a Marine. I was driving him home from serving in the military, and while I drove up to his house, he was split into two people, one of them sitting in the passenger seat with me, and another version coming out of the house with a "welcome home" poster. This reminded me of the old "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" song, and I placed ribbons on each tree in the painting.

I also dreamed a small black cobra was wrapping around my wrist like a blood pressure cuff, and when it puffed back up it was going to strike and kill me. I've lost several friends and family members this year, and I turned 40, and my friend Christy who died was about to turn 40, and my sweet Memaw had a stroke yesterday and was taken by helicopter to a hospital, so mortality and death have been on my mind.

Also, I saw a gigantic water moccasin on an early morning walk/run this week. My dear twin identical cousins Scott and Joey turn 38 today, so they were on my mind, too. They are technically "mirror image" twins, so I made my hammock hanging between both mirrored oaks. That particular hammock broke while I was in it and dumped me flat on my back a while ago. Due to that I'm having neck/back pain, and it has been recommended that I train myself to sleep flat on my back for a while, which I hate, so I showed myself having troubled dreams in that position. I also heard on NPR (I think it was NPR) that the largest percentage of nightmares happen when people are sleeping on their backs.

Whew! That was a lot, but a lot goes into paintings for me, even when they're relatively simple. I tend to put a lot of personal symbols and associations into them. So...that was in my head today!

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Four Seasons

"Four Seasons"...oil on panel
Something about the 1st of August wakes me up. This year is turning. Has turned. Is marching on towards fall. All the school supply lists are out, and yellow buses on blacktop roads are in our future. I feel like I need to squeeze in that last bit of summer.

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“Fraser” and “Fraser’s Flowers”
What a handsome boy! Such a distinguished but cute little gentleman.
Painting dark fur can be tricky, so I had fun using a lot of color to bring out the highlights. I decided to do an extra canvas, too. Sometimes when I work on something complicated (lots of flowers, for example), I start an extra painting to try out different colors and styles before I put them on top of layers that are already complete.

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Vintage Dutch children's books

I’d like to show you some Dutch children’s books that Thom Jeffries shared with me. These belonged to his late wife Julia. She grew up in the Netherlands, and her full name was Albertine Julia Johanna Van Mechelen Jeffries. 
My daughters and I have really enjoyed looking through them. The illustrations are charming, aren’t they? We thought it was fun to see her little scribbles in the books, too. In a future post, I will also share some of Julia’s childhood sketchbooks. Thanks again Thom, and feel free to add any information or corrections.


100 Days of Art!

I'm celebrating today...I have created art every day for 100 Days. I started the #100DayProject back on January 1st, and I made something Every Single Day. Some days it was a detailed painting and some days it was chalk on a sidewalk or writing a song on harp. I wanted creativity to be something that was part of all my days, just like coffee, hugs, and brushing my teeth. I think this project has really helped cement the practice of creating into my daily routine. I wanted to thank the creators of Everyday Creatives (the group of artists I worked with) for organizing this project. It has been such a pleasure to work with you guys, and all the other artists in the group. 
P.S. There are even a few more pieces I didn't include in here because my compilation poster filled up. :)

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Wonderful Words Wednesday

Whoops! (May I add that word ALSO starts with a “W”???) I got behind on my WWWs. I’ve been sharing them on FB and IG, but I don’t always upload my website in real time. I’ll catch up today.


The Three Moods of Celtic harp tradition

For Fun Friday, I wanted to share a concept called "adban trireach", which loosely translates to "the three moods".  I've put together three Scottish or Irish songs for you today to celebrate "The Three Moods" in a more modern way. If anyone knows more about this concept, please tell me all about it!

I'm fascinated with anything about harps, particularly Celtic harp traditions. To be considered an accomplished musician worthy of their high rank, they were expected to play songs that evoked these "three moods":
-geantraighe = happy/lively 
-goltraighe = sorrowful
-suantraighe = sleepy

In VERY early harping tradition-1200s/1300s, each ruling chieftan considered it a necessity to have a harpist in their court. They ranked just below the chieftan and the bard. And since the pinky was not used in this playing style, they would often amputate the pinky finger of harpers.
I think that's so interesting! 

Happy/geantraighe-Street performers dancing and playing concertina on the streets of Galway. I think this really captures the impromptu joy and "do-it-anywhere" quality of the Irish. 
(Starts :18 seconds in)

Sorrowful/goltraighe -"Amhrán na Eascainne" by Liam Ó Maonlaí & friends
This song is about a man whose new bride serves him a poisoned eel for dinner. The man's sister tends him on his deathbed and asks what he will leave for the rest of his family. It's so depressing, in the best sort of Orkney Islands way.

Sleepy (my favorite)-A Trip to the Islands/Keltische Harfe by Nadia Birkenstock
Here's a soothing harp piece played beside a running stream. This is an original composition by Nadia.