Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice Storm

January is the worst winter month around here, and this week was the worst of this month. The ice storm we had would be minor to many, but it has been crippling around here. It started with snow on Monday night to be followed by freezing rain all day Tuesday that was followed by snow again Wednesday morning. Many trees and branches all over the state have been downed by accumulated ice, and so many people (actually about 500,000) have lost power, including my dad, my daughter, my son, and us, all for varying times. My dad and my son are still without power two days after losing it, but we got it back after 24 hours. Dad's house is not habitable without electricity, so he is staying with my sister, who only lost power for a matter of hours. Doug and Kellie and we were fortunate enough to have gas burners to help warm our space, so we got to stay put. We were in the dark, listening to a battery-powered radio, all of last evening, but our gas fireplace kept us toasty and warm. I must say I am glad to have lights and television and a computer available tonight!
Because we live in a new house, our trees are too small to have lost branches, so that's good. Also, our developer plowed our streets and driveways. However, as you can see, my baby weeping crabapple is now sobbing, bent clear to the ground. Everything in the yard has a thick coat of ice on it, and the weather is still very cold, so it's not melting. They are saying it may melt by the weekend, only to be followed possibly by a heavy accumulation of snow on Monday and Tuesday. Anyone would think it was winter around here, and as anybody who knows me knows-- I HATE WINTER! However, if I can hang in there through February, I will have a whole month on the beach in Florida, where I sincerely hope it will be warm. Life is good...
P.S. When checking this out, I noticed that the last picture is upside down, but it doesn't change the fact that the rain chain is coated with ice...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Out of My Comfort Zone, All Right!

Talk about being out of your comfort zone! This painting, which uncharacteristically took me three sittings to complete, is definitely not like anything I have ever tackled or even wanted to, for that matter. However, I have joined an artists' group, the Visual Artists of Bullitt County. This is a group of professional and amateur artists that meets monthly, and each month we create a picture to take in and share with the others. The paintings are voted on by all the members, and first, second, and third place winners are chosen each month and published in the local paper. The first month, my sunrise picture won third place, and I was very happy about it, especially with the competition I saw there. The second month I didn't place, but that was fine. We didn't meet in December, but this coming week we have a meeting. The group voted to have certain themes every other month for the paintings. Alternate months will be free choice. This month's theme was Tuscan or wine-related paintings. There is a local winery that will hang some of these paintings in their place and offer them for sale. I am not too good at still life, so I decided a scene would be better. However, I had a hard time locating a scene that I could draw inspiration from. I am not a wine drinker, and I have no particular affinity for Tuscany. Finally, I found a picture of a small house with this table and wine out front. I took that picture, which I think was actually a Mexican hacienda, and added some tall shrubs and flower boxes and other touches, and this is what I ended up with.
This picture represents firsts for me in many categories. For one, I usually copy a complete scene when I paint, but I had to mix things up for this one. I usually don't draw the picture before painting, just block it out generally. This one I drew on the canvas first. Also, I usually finish a painting in one sitting, maybe two. This one took three, and for the first time, I went back after I thought it was finished and made changes to improve it. And, as I said, the subject matter is a first for me.
I must say that I found this project to be somewhat of a chore, and I am not particularly pleased with the final product. After it was completed, I can see where the shrubs were not placed the same on both sides. The house roof was too tall, so I covered it with a tree branch that wasn't in the original drawing. The whole picture looks very amateur to me. However, I am glad that I tried this. It's a good idea to get outside the comfort zone once in a while to see just what you can do. While I doubt I will be doing any more pictures like this one, I learned alot about my strengths and what I need to work on to improve. Our next theme will be in March, when I am in Florida, but I will have a southwest picture ready anyway. I can do those! And in May, it's sunsets--my favorite! So I'll keep on painting. Life is good...

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I commented on Alissa's blog that she could interview me, as she had been interviewed by one of her blog friends. These are the questions she sent, along with my responses.

1. Excluding your spouse, children, or any other immediate family members, who is your favorite person? Why? You don't have to include names...

My favorite person, outside of my family, is my friend Rose. I have many friends whom I like a lot and have a lot of fun with. However, with Rose, the connection between us was almost instantaneous when we met 15 years ago on my first day of teaching at Maryville Elementary School. We discovered that we had a great deal in common, not only in our teaching styles and desires, but also personally. I never feel that I must explain myself or my actions to Rose. She understands me and my life, as I understand her. She is a naturally kind and compassionate person. I hope it means that I am, too, since we have so much in common!

2.Are you a dog or a cat person? Why? Actually, I would say I am neither, since I am not big on pets. I didn't grow up having a pet, so I don't miss one if I don't have one. I like both dogs and cats okay, but if I have to choose one, it would be cats. They are independent and clean, but they can form a bond with you. You can have them around for company, but you don't have to lavish attention on them for them to be content.

3.If you could have only one talent, and you could be awesome at it, what would it be? Why? If you mean by talent, something you can do, I guess I would choose painting. I can do it, but I am not awesome at it. I love to do it, though, and I have a great appreciation for art. If by talent, you could include personal traits, I would choose to be awesome at helping other people succeed. Why? Because it feels good to help others.

4. Someone offers to tell you the exact time and date that you are going to die. You know they will be telling the absolute truth. Do you take them up on it? Why? Absolutely NOT! I already try to live each day as if it were my last and enjoy my life I would not want to be counting down the days until I die, worrying each day that I won't accomplish all I want to do before my time is up. I already know that life is short.

5. Laundry--as needed or once a week? Usually I do laundry once a week, which is plenty often enough for two people. I could go longer, but it gets to be an unwieldy job that way.

Okay, that's my interview. If you read this and want to be interviewed, leave a comment that says, "interview me." I will send 5 questions, not necessarily these, but questions of my choosing. You can publish the interview in your blog. Then you can interview others, if you wish.