Oil Painting of The River

 

My favorite river scene

The idea for this water scene came from a nice day I remember on a river in Sutton County, that place had a peaceful feeling~ good company too~

This is a large 24″x36″ painting of a river scene, no real place, not really anywhere. The idea for it came  from once going with Mother to a friend’s ranch in Sutton County and spending the day on the river. I remember the woman had a camp house with a wood cook stove, and she cooked up the most wonderful pot of red beans and baked a skillet of cornbread. We had that with iced tea and it was a feast. The smoky smell of the wood stove made it even more memorable. But back to the river scene, water has always been one of the things I enjoy painting most of all. As anyone who paints will tell you, when you are lost in this kind of project, you can only have good thoughts, good feelings, and all stress is washed away. For a while, you can forget problems (like worrying whether the avocado will be ripe by Sunday, you know~ those big things~)  I can look at one of the paintings and remember what was going on in my life when I was painting it. I think it always had something to do with the people I love~

Mias Amigas Reunion Eldorado Texas

Ann & Suzie MEvery year we celebrate Mias Amigas in our hometown. Anyone who graduated from Eldorado High School at least 20 years ago is invited to come to this time honored reunion, held the last weekend in June. This tradition started almost 90 years ago and is still going strong. Each year, the class that graduated 20 years ago is recognized and also the class of 50 years ago. It is fun hearing all the stories about their old school days. They were a pretty good bunch and if they got in trouble at school, they were going home to face worst than the principal’s paddle. It is interesting to hear what they have done with their lives since they left Eldorado. Here are a few pictures from this past weekend.
Dean & Vickie, Salley DeLongAngela & Ray13529199_10209511708964579_1755157665415040920_nIMG_6273Linda, Christabel, Rob, Paula, & PhyllisMeador bunch & Rita13528763_10209511707964554_6844678213930887435_nErin's familyKirk JonesDorthy & RitaMadeline & SharonRob & TellyMickey & Scott13501612_10209511744005455_9217082272328468075_n

Texas Country Roads

this would be such nice road leading up to your home place, some people do have roads just like this~

This is a scene  near Mason. I would love to drive down this road on the way home every day, a winding road with trees making a canopy overhead. We used to visit relatives in East Texas and  between Douglasville and Atlanta, there were roads like this that went to the farm houses. It was magical, mystical, and maybe a little bit spooky at night. Dan’s ‘McWhorter cousins’ lived in East Texas and I liked going there, it was so different. The people were soft spoken and no one ever got in a hurry. Their voices had such a sweet, kind sound. (Dan always came home with an East Texas accent and it took a few days for it to wear off). I was amazed at how green it was back there, very hot and humid too. Ben took us  fishing in his boat, we got out in the middle of Caddo Lake, anchor in the water, hooks baited, then he had to turn around and take Cousin Lilla all the way back to the bait stand because she was afraid of the water. We fished all day while she sat on the dock beside the picnic basket with the food,  I wished I had stayed with her. We loved our East Texas people.

Miniature Swing Set

The real barn had a child size bed, table and small refrigerator  for ZZ’s playhouse. (this miniature swing set is 4″ tall)

I made the real table, which washed away in the same flood that took the River Mouse. It would seat 8 people, with two stumps on the end to use as seats. This miniature is 1 3/4″ tall~

This is a miniature copy of the swing set at Camp Rock. (I didn’t make the trailer, it was a gift from Dan and Debbie). The barn is a copy of one Dan built, ZZ helped him by handing him each nail, one by one that went on the roof. There is the picnic table like the one I built that washed away. I bought the real swing set at Lowe’s and put it together.  It came in several heavy cartons full of pipes, seats, chains and a thousand nuts and bolts. I laid it all out on the ground, opened up the instructions and it said, ‘have your helper hold the first leg steady as you connect it to the horizontal top bar’. Well,the only helper around was my little dog Spook. One of these things can be assembled by one person because I did it that day. (a hard job) When it was finished, it was worth it. Our kids came for vacation from Albuquerque the next day, and ZZ had stars in her eyes when she saw it. She spent the next two weeks on the slide or a swing or sitting in the glider with her dog and her stuffed toys, she was three years old. I see swing sets in people’s back yards that are a piece of work. They have climbing walls and bridges, curved slides, ladders up to a landing  on top with a flag flying. They are made of redwood and and likely very expensive. I know it would take more than your dog to help put one together. But what a nice thing to have when your kids are growing up, it should last forever. When I grew up, we were lucky if we had a tree big enough to hang a rope swing. Ours was across the street in Grandmother’s yard. You could sit in it and have someone wind you up and spin until you were sick. You staggered out of that swing drunk as a skunk~

 

Spring Brags in Texas

 

Bluebonnet painting with live oak tree

this live oak tree is a landmark between Eldorado and Christoval

Sen. and Mrs. John Tower

Sen. and Mrs. John Tower shown with the painting which was included in a special exhibit in Washington

In the summer of 1966, this painting was included in a special showing of paintings by 15 outstanding Texas women artists in the office of Sen. John Towers in Washington. The painting, “Spring Brags in Texas” is a bluebonnet scene with the huge live oak tree which is a landmark between Eldorado and Christoval. It stands at  the entrance to the Bob Helmers Ranch.  An account of the exhibit was written into the 89th Congressional Record and later taken on a circuit tour through Texas. I painted it 48 years ago and it was like yesterday~

The Card Game

The dress was wonderful to paint, her wrap too, it looks like ‘someone’ won her away from the card game~I painted this picture in 1965, it was  large and took two months to complete.

Dan’s mother saw this painting and mentioned it several times, it hangs in the Hermitage in Russia. It was an old world painting, ‘The Stolen Kiss’ by Fragonard. I found a photograph of the painting and was overwhelmed by the beautiful detail in the woman’s dress, I decided to try to copy it. It took several weeks to sketch it off on canvas and once I started painting, I was terribly excited to be doing it. Painting the folds in the woman’s dress was a great experience, it was like reading a good book~ hard to put down. When it was finished Dan gave it to his mother on Mother’s Day, she loved it. She had a beautiful formal living room and the perfect place for it. It has been in the family for 47 years, it now hangs in her grandson’s home. 

Tea Party Cookies

these cookies are light and tender, the butter makes them extra special~I make all my cookies using butter~I took this pictures using my little Canon PowerShot  300HS and no flash~

Looks like a tea party going on, maybe for you and a special little granddaughter. It is almost as easy as reaching in the cookie tin and walking through the house eating cookies, except you will enjoy this special moment you give  yourself. The figurine is one my sister Nancy gave me, one of my favorites. The china is from my Grandmother Christian’s set when she started house keeping as a new bride. Little girls like tea parties and old girls do too~

 Sugar Cookies
2 sticks real butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour plus 3 T.
3 tsp. baking powder
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, milk and vanilla
and beat well. Sift  flour and baking powder together
and add to first mixture. Chill for 30 minutes. On
cookie sheet, make each cookie into a ball and press
flat with a water glass. (I put the glass in a little sugar
before pressing each cookie). Or if you like, you can roll the
dough out thin and cut with cookie cutter. Bake at 400 degrees
until cookies start to turn slightly golden, don’t overcook.
Watch them carefully.
Place cookies on wire rack to cool.

Bald-Faced Cow

cattle are fun to paint, ZZ was able to paint this one in two days, and then put in a little more detail after the paint dried.

This is a picture ZZ painted of a cow. We took lots of cow pictures in Buscher’s pasture, they were strange looking but probably good ones since they  all had ear tags.  ZZ was 9 years old on this one. I helped her sketch it off on a 9×12″ canvas. (paint the eyes in first, then it will watch you while you paint in everything else.) To show her how, I would write in b for brown, w for white, etc. and she would paint in the different colors. She learned to mix paint from an early age, we used very few colors,  white,  blue, yellow, red, and brown. Nearly any color can be mixed  from these. She learned early not to mix a big pile of color, if you mix small amounts, each one will be different and make  the picture more realistic. One time when ZZ was about 5 years old, we were buying brushes at the art store and an older man and his wife were shopping. From what we understood, he had decided to start painting. He was saying, ‘let me see, I need some purple and some green, and some black’~ I could tell ZZ was having a fit. She finally told me, ‘that man is not obeying’. She knew blue and red made purple, and yellow and blue made green. She was beside herself wanting to go help him. She painted several parrot pictures and sold them on e-bay. Children like bright colors. She painted a lot of adobe houses. They are easy to do and when you are finished, you have something worthy of a nice frame. They have a 3-D effect with shadows and sunlight hitting the walls. The great thing about her is she never got tired, she was never ready to quit. I love this old cow. I love that sweet girl~

Another Father’s Day

Daddy couldn’t resist a nice pair of boots, he wore size  7  N   to  9 M, just which ever ones were the best price. This was his favorite pair~he called them his ostrich boots~

Here is Daddy holding  2 month old baby DT

here he is five years later, holding his new baby Paul

This is a picture of Dan holding his sweet baby D.T in 1956. The second picture is five years later with little Paul. (last week was Paul’s birthday, he was born on June 17, 1961 so this is a very special week for me.) Dan was a wonderful daddy to these two little boys, they were the best thing to ever happen to him.The boys had lots of fine men in their lives~ granddad’s and many uncles~ but no one more special than their daddy.   “Ye-haw, let’s stand and sing, keep smiling , raise the flag, who’s ready for a cigar, let’s eat.” I love those boys and loved that daddy!

Granddad and ZZ

this was right down his alley, he did a perfect job and was happy to help

This is a picture of Granddad marking the hem on ZZ’s new dress. When she came to see us there were always projects.  She learned to sew and cook, oil paint and, and most of all practice driving the pickup. Here she is at 9 years old. She made this dress in two days. Dan always was happy to mark hems for me and he helped her with hers. You had to stand perfectly still, he would stick a pin in and and then say ‘shift’. He praised  her for whatever work she was doing. They were great friends. He died four years ago and while I was going through some of his things, I found about 20 ‘tickets’ she had printed for him, each with a picture of an omelet, plate of scrambled eggs or brownies~which he could redeem “at any time” and she would cook it for his supper. Sometimes we find these treasures that remind us of precious moments~ they are priceless~

31′ Airstream Trailer

when we are not at the river, I keep it under the cabana here at home. I like to sit out there with Marci and Jitter Joe  and even eat  dinner  there sometimes. Good feelings~

We had the little 17′ Airstream and for years traveled in it. Later when  the boys and their families were coming to Camp Rock on the river for two  weeks at a time, it was pretty crowded. Early one morning, I saw an ad in the Standard Times “Airstream  31′ trailer for sale,1974 model, one owner, $6,500″. Paul and Anna were at the river so I  went to Christoval to get Anna so we could go look at it. We loved it, it was big and it was beautiful. We went back to the river and sent Dan and Paul to buy it. (Dan drug his feet as usual, he had to always think things over). I told him I would pay for it so  ‘just go get it, and don’t come home without it!’ Anna and I spent a couple of hours planning and celebrating our soon to be dream come true. When  they got back,  Dan said, ‘it’s in the bag!’,  I offered the guy $5,000 CASH, he will be calling back in a little while to  say he will take the deal!’.  We came home and he did call, he said, ‘I know how much you girls wanted that trailer but I sold it to the Fords right after your husband left’. I was so mad at Dan, I was sick! The kids went back home to Albuquerque, and a couple of weeks later I took Elizabeth Ann home. One afternoon  Anna and I were shopping, and when we got back, Paul said ‘Daddy just called and said to tell you, the trailer is on the premises’. The Fords took it on a short trip and decided it was too big so put an ad in the paper. Dan saw it and went straight up and bought it. They even pulled it down here for him. When I got home,  that wonderful trailer was parked in the driveway. In the 20 years we have had it, the longest trip it has made is the 24 miles to the river. 

Wishing a Happy Birthday today to someone I love very much!

Guanajuato Mexico

this was a common scene in Mexico, it was like something from another world.

I painted this Mexican man with his oxen pulling a cart in 1966, after one of our trips deep into Mexico, (not far from, Guanajuato.) Usually I take a picture and use parts of it for a painting. This time, it is almost exactly like the photo I took. There were three men sitting on a bench under the tree and I chose to leave them out.  This part of Mexico is beautiful, the scenes are like they came from another world. It has a  ‘feel’ about it that you don’t forget. With sounds like a donkey braying,  a ‘hee-honk~wheeze~ hee-honk~wheeze~ noise’ that keeps going until you wonder if he is dying~or just happy.  The birds have their brilliant colors and exotic songs. In all of this noise of nature, people are quiet spoken and you hardly hear them make a sound. Nothing rowdy going on here. You notice all of this because it is so different. Then the smells are fresh and pleasant,  orange, pineapple and mango, the slightly pungent  smell of papaya,  (I am aware of smells and enjoy that special sense, next to seeing and hearing~ a cow lot, or a dirt floor in a barn when it starts to rain, the warm sweet smell of a baby’s hair, a  puppy’s breath~) Anyway back to Mexico, I know I will never be able to go there again, but it stays fresh in my mind and I will keep it with me forever.  México, hermoso país, personas finas