Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Birth of An Art Piece; and the Tuesday Story: Hawk Sighting

I am very brave, as I show you the beginning of a painting:

It is part of the latest workshop I'm taking called Color, Beyond the Basics and this is a monochromatic background done with acrylic paint.  I am currently adding to it so you will have to stay tuned to see the finished piece. But don't you think it's brave to show it unfinished?? :) haha

Hawk Sighting
36th in the Tuesday Story Series

One of our favorite pastimes as a family has always been camping. That means that we took a pull behind camper, as I outgrew on-the-ground sleeping a long time ago! As our daughter grew older, we often took along one or two of her friends, and they would sleep in a tent, so they could chat all night if they wanted to, and we could sleep. After one such trip with two of Tabitha's friends, we had a surprise waiting for us when we came home. 

We always brought the camper in the back yard and circled around, so we could park it right inside the gate. This time we let the kids out in the yard before we turned around, and after a few minutes I heard "Mom!! Papa!! Look at the porch!! It's all busted!". I stopped the car, and we turned to look where they were pointing and were appalled at what we saw.

Our back porch in Charleston was room size and all screened in, with a ceiling fan to keep the air moving. Now as we looked at it, screen was hanging everywhere, there was not a section of intact screen on the whole porch except at the bottom. Some of it was ripped into shreds, but all of it was hanging. 

"What in the world!?!" we thought as we stood there for a moment, and then we all moved slowly towards what was left of the porch. "What happened Mom? What happened?" the girls were all chattering at once, "We don't know!" we answered in a daze and then suddenly we saw something sort of jump about six or eight inches and we all froze. 

John and I told the girls to stay back, and we slowly walked up to the porch. There in a huddle was a red tailed hawk, staring at us as though warning us to stay away but obviously too exhausted to do anything but gives us dirty-hawk looks. At the house door, we could see our two cats sitting there, very wide eyed and not moving as they stared through the glass. I suddenly got the feeling they had been watching this hawk for some time!

We hesitated for a few minutes, because the talons of any bird of prey are formidable, whether they are injured or not, in fact it might even be worse if they are injured because they would be striking out of fear. As we stood there watching it watch us, I suddenly thought "Camera! NO! Darn, no film left!!!" which annoyed me more than the shredded screens hanging around us. Studying the scene we figured that the hawk had been chasing a bird and went straight through the screen, and then could not escape. The hanging screen prevented it from flying out but it was obvious that it had been trying for some time, hence all the torn screening.

John and I talked it over, both of us realizing that the hawk was seemingly too exhausted to even fly at us. So I went around to the front of the house and let myself in, then going to the linen closet I grabbed the largest towel I could find. I walked to the back, shooed the cats away from the porch door and carefully opened it. The hawk turned just a bit to look at me as John hushed the children who were very excited about the whole thing. I stretched the towel between my hands and slowly walked over to the hawk, dropped the towel over it and picked it up gingerly. I was able to swaddle the hawk so that it could not flair up, and as I picked it up, it offered no resistance. It didn't even struggle, the poor thing was so exhausted. I kept away from the hawk's bill, and held it up for everyone to see. It was so beautiful!! I carried it outside and put it down on the ground, and after a few minutes, it gave a tentative flap, then rose up and soared off to a nearby tree where it sat for a while.

Of course, though we had been gone for a week, the end of the camping trip was the most talked about part of the whole vacation!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Tonight while I was sitting in my studio addressing postcards, I had the window open because the temperatures outside are pretty mild, and it gets warm up here, since it is tucked away on the 3rd floor. It was already dark outside and I had been sitting here for about a half an hour, when I heard a sound sort of like a rusty "aunk" (or a croak)  punctuate the darkness. It repeated several times, then I heard the whoo hoo hoo of the Great Horned Owl. Both of these sounds were coming from the pasture of our neighbors next to our property line. It was a male and female Great Horned Owl calling back and forth to each other! I have heard them do this before, and this is the time of the year the male starts staking out its territory. The pair will be monogamous and raise young in January. Here is what the owls calling sounds like, although the ones I heard were closer, so the sound was bolder.  I went downstairs and John and I went out on the back porch to listen; they called back and forth for quite a while.

Our daughter was awakened one night last year with a pair of owls doing the same thing in her back yard, only she wasn't sure at all what was making the croaking sound! 

The title of today's post is a nod to Gomer Pyle. He used to say "hooty hoo" when he tried to sound like an owl while he was on the Andy Griffith show, if any of you are old enough to remember!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

For the second year in a row, we went to a restaurant for Thanksgiving. We were all so happy that I had enough energy that afternoon that I could make it; usually mid-morning to mid afternoon will be my best times, and I was sure to rest the days prior to the big day so that it would be possible to go. And I am very thankful for that! Afterwards, I collapsed on the bed, so exhausted, but with great memories of the time we had together.

We went to The Green Room, a restaurant in Greenville which serves some of the best food I've ever tasted. I even had a $40 coupon that I had purchased for $20 in February for the restaurant, so that worked out perfectly!!

We each chose something different from the set menu; it was a 3 course meal, but you had several choices for appetizer, main dish and dessert.

I just love my family!!!

We had great conversation, and made several toasts. We are richly blessed as a family!!

And then it was time to say goodbye at Tabitha's house!

John had been very sick with a bad head cold and bronchitis for almost 2 weeks, but he did feel well enough to go by Thursday, for which we were also very thankful. Both he and I were pretty worn out, and I have had to watch my activities today. But it was so nice to enjoy good food and not have to do any cleaning up!! And Tabitha was thankful to not have to do the cooking too!!

Hope my US friends had a wonderful day with family!!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Altered Postcard and a Story - Purple Haze

Well, I hope so, it's been a long relapse and I am still having trouble sleeping, but ... there is hope!!! There is always hope!

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An altered, mixed media postcard; the reasons I like to make these are several fold: I use up bits and bobs of scraps, they are small enough to do in a shorter amount of time, and I can send them to people! (who hopefully like to receive them!)
This one includes scraps of patterned tissue, a flower cutout, a scrap from a German newspaper, inks and paint, textural pieces for interest.

35th in the Tuesday Story series

During the time John was the CEO of the water utility of Charleston and we were homeschooling our daughter Tabitha, we would accompany him on several of the trips he was required to take in connection with his work. One of our favorite places to go, and we went there several times, was Colorado.

On one of the last trips we made there, Tabitha was old enough to go horse back riding and we signed up to go on one with an outfit near the Rocky Mountains National Park. The three of us ate lunch at a lovely lodge near one of the gates to the park, and then Tabitha and I left for our adventure. The place was not far from where we were and we arrived with plenty of time to spare. It was a gorgeous summer day in Colorado, no humidity, sunny, no clouds and an inviting temperature. As we stood around the stable yard waiting for the others to arrive we watched the horses.

They were quite attractive, and everything was as clean as a stable area could be, and the cowboys/guides/whatever you called them were friendly and chatted with people. The horses waited calmly, reins wrapped around a long pole horizontal to the ground. When the group for our particular ride were all checked in, the lead boss gave us a few words to help our ride go more smoothly."Lean back when the horse is going downhill and lean forward when it is climbing uphill - you'll help the horse and won't fall off." Good words to remember! Then the horses were untethered and lined up, our names were called and one by one we were assisted onto our horse, and given the name of the one we were on. Then the next words from our leader were "You can just relax for the ride, these horse know exactly where to go and will follow one another. You really don't have to do anything other than what I explained earlier." And with that, he clicked his tongue, his horse turned around and we were off!

Immediately all of the horses shuffled together, nose to tail, and I mean nose to tail, as if they were invisibly pulled together as tight as possible! Before we passed through the high timbered gate, the leader turned around for one last bit of information. He told us to be aware of certain horses who had personalty quirks, such as one wanting to veer off (just give little tug back, he'll come along), one who liked to grab a bit of grass here and there (just give a gentle tug to his reins, he'll stop) and so forth, including one who had digestive problems and may or may not have gas issues. Well, um okay. I hoped I was not on any of those he mentioned. It turns out that my horse did like to snatch a mouthful of grass, but he was very cooperative when I tugged on the reins.

The countryside was beautiful, and we went on a well worn track, up small hills and down. I was really enjoying it when.......... "what in the world was that smell? A skunk? Oh my! Well now it's gone thankfully! Look at this country! I love the colors and the fresh air!" ......cough ........cough

"What WAS the odor?!"

Then, I realized I was BEHIND the horse which was contributing more than his fair share to the Greenhouse Gas Problem! And oh my, why hadn't I worn a bandana like a real cowboy? Better yet, why hadn't they given me one! So I tugged my shirt up over my nose, it was that bad, and I never knew when it was coming again. As we were going around a small bend at the bottom of a hill, the leader glanced back at us and saw me and started laughing. "Well, I see ole Bessie is up to her tricks today!" So then of course everyone had to turn and look! I just laughed and waved at them all, what else could I do!

All in all, it was a lovely ride, even though I wish we hadn't had to stay so close together in line. And I think they should make it a standard practice that "ole Bessie" be the last horse on the ride!!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Long Hiatus

But not one I have taken purposefully! I have just been too drained to do much and have been enduring a long relapse. Today, just for today, I have a bit of energy. I will be honest and say that I have been struggling with the coming of winter and the cold, colorless months. I was surprised that I would have that much of an adjustment after moving here from Charleston, but I think having this illness makes it worse. I do not miss the Charleston summers, and the Autumn hues in this area are much more brilliant, but there was color in Charleston in January, and you could get out of doors and walk and play and garden and just sit. I have promised myself that I would try to do as much art as I can, nothing serious necessarily, but anything with COLOR! And we need to paint the rooms of the house, because they are still that flat grayish white builder paint, because we had no time to repaint before my illness struck, and in the worst months of that I could not have stood having that kind of commotion going on. But I think I could handle it better now and my husband agrees and so I will be looking into having something done there.

Meanwhile, I have been finishing up part of a class I have been taking; the early lessons are to get a foundation on the colorways, and I know I have shown some of these before, but here they are again, complete this time.

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These are what I did with the paint left over after mixing different colors to make the squares in the last picture. Now I can use them for collages and altered art!

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Color blocks on transparencies.

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Colors hues and shades made by blending two different colors - quite a color range from a small group of paints!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!