The four grandkids are back with their parents, and we are digging out our house. All had a very good time and even went to a special luncheon at Don and Ritzie's house yesterday. Ritzie's an artist, too, and loves children, plus, she's an awesome chef, gardener, and also plays the piano. So much talent in one person always amazes me.

Nick Simmons, the recipient of this year's National Watercolor Society Award TOP AWARD, is another one of those multi-gifted people. He plays a great guitar, paints on the edge with expertise, puts on an awesome workshop - if you're lucky enough to get in one - and he can paint pictures in your head with his words! Be sure to check out his blogspot - see side bar. . . ALWAYS entertaining, especially the one I just read today.

The painting of Ty posted here is a couple of years old. He's now a four year old, (along with his two sisters,) and as we were leaving Ritzie's house yesterday, Ty asked Grandpa if he was going to get spanked for being bad. He must have done something we don't know about yet. Ritzie, can you fill us in???

They did get to paint this morning - before breakfast, even - in their pajamas with their painting aprons on. Brant, our seven year old, drew and painted a very beautiful pointsettia after studying one carefully. Paige painted a red barn and a black cow with grass to eat, and Jillian produced a well designed landscape with sky, mountains and a big orange tulip, all for our upcoming art show this summer. Ty worked with play doh like a master. Last night we created some wonderful beads that had to be baked. Such a busy time to be a child!

"BLUE BOY" Transparent Watercolor on 140# Arches CP 18 x 18" SOLD



This painting's from a dozen or so years ago, and working from a live model is still one of my favorite things to do. The collector who had purchased this asked several years later if I'd take it back in trade for another painting, since he was re-doing the room it was in. What do you say? Are you offended? Is art (if this is art) so expendable? Would you make the trade? Are we just decorating houses? Matching sofas?

Maybe it's just that I consider paintings to be 'too' special. I don't know....... Paintings from friends or ones that I have purchased, even if I have no place to display them, cannot be discarded, at least not by me. It seems they are a part of the artist, a part of their very soul. I even keep the hand painted cards I receive.

On another note, I can easily pitch out my own paintings when they are pathetic. An Ohio artist, Judy Anderson, (who recently spoke at our Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society meeting) calls them 'barkers,' aka dogs! Pretty accurate. Once my sister rummaged through my trash can and retreived some of those dogs, framed them, and I still see them them hanging around her place, even though I've supplied her with better work. I know --- one man's trash is another's treasure.

"MONA LISA SMILE" Transparent Watercolor on 140# Arches CP 22 x 30" SOLD



Color can be a blast when you take liberties with it. Black never has to be 'black,' instead rich magenta and vibrant turquoise and deep burnt orange.

The skin of golden pears reflects the colors of the things nearby, so why not play those colors up to make a painting more fun to enjoy? Instead of all gold, throw in some warm coral and orange, then tap in some aquamarine and hot green.

The key is to plop those colors together and let them mix on their own. Stirring them up or brushing them around will make for a dull, boring color. Using ample amounts of moisture will help the colors charge into each other. Let them make music on the paper and be sure to leave some whites to clarify the brilliance of the colors.

"FRUIT MELODY" Transparent Watercolor on Arches CP 140#, 15 x 11"



This painting of our four grandkids was created from a couple of photos taken this summer. Actually, I took well over 100 photos before this one spontaneously happened during suppertime.

The sun was low in the sky, lending that gorgeous golden glow to the air. We all rushed outside before it set, and as the story began, they instantly got involved. We had no hairdos done, no special outfits on, just kids on a warm summer evening enjoying a story about Jack and the Beanstalk. Linda says that you have ONLY 3 seconds to get that good shot. So true.

A half a year older now, they've seen their painting hanging in the new Lawrenceburg Library, with their names printed in the storybook. I don't think they were impressed. The little ones liked the big Mickey Mouse at the library better.

I do know they had a fabulous Christmas, making cookies, opening gifts, giving gifts, and playing non-stop for hours yesterday. Today we have been entertained by four 'theatre' productions in their new stage, and I know there will be many more. This afternoon we'll be making beads from clay for necklaces, so there's no time for this grandma to paint. I'm not complaining.

"A GREAT STORY" Transparent Watercolor on Arches CP 140#, 30 x 22" SOLD



I've looked and looked for an appropriate painting to post for Christmas. I have none. I feel like the drummer boy. Music/art - but no gift. God gave me the gift of being an artist, and I am so thankful for that. Yet, I am more thankful for the way He reached down, when He didn't have to, and gave me the gift of life eternal, aka forever. Thank you, God.

If you celebrate Christmas, may this one be a blessed day of peace and joy. And if you enjoy December 25 in other ways, may you also have a wonderful day to celebrate the enormous gift of life.