Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cynthia Large: Fabulous Artwork

I am dabbling in egg tempera. I came across this fabulous artist, Cynthia Large.

I've got little time to write right now, but please check her out! I've never seen anything like her combination of work with brass,wood and egg work. She is Gifted.

Today I made a huge step in Growth. There is a dress that I love at a boutique. I knew I'd never find it on Ebay and the outfit is scrumptious. I put it on and ta-da! It accentuates my assets and makes my negatives look positive. It's not cheap. I can spend $120 on the dress or $120 towards an investment in egg tempera pigments. I chose the pigments. It was hard. Maybe I will paint myself in the pretty outfit. . .

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm in, Up to My Neck!

I'll fill y'all in in a bit about what I have been up to. Long story short, I volunteered for something with some cool ideas which were asked for. The person in charge said, "Great!" and handed me some equipment to go off and do it with. I am up late editing. In the past month I have been learning much, now I am learning the software. My husband just laughed at me, "Will you ever light somewhere?"

Do you like the pictures? These are Sea Princess's grandson, Apollo and great-grand-filly, Spritzer. My father bred Apollo from Sea Princess's son, Sailor's Alaska Glacier Gold and sold him to Lynne and Lynne is doing great things with him. This is my dad's branch that he started. Apollo has the spirit that his grandmother and father had. Are these not the most amazing horses you have ever seen? (You have to check out Moonpie at Lynne's ranch! She's also Apollo's daughter. Don't get on me about her being Spritzer's daughter and Apollo being her father and grandfather-- horses can do that.)

In the music to the left, I am playing Dan Fogelburg's Run for the Roses. At 2:42 is someone in Princesses' line-- I think that is Genius Bourbon King who all these horses are related to. I can't find this picture online but I know I've seen it in all the books on Saddlebreds. Note the line in these magnificent horses. They share his amazing inheritance! Saddlebreds are born to show off-- they are the peacocks of the show ring. My dad's horses didn't just graze and eat grass-- they'd strut around and show off, even in pastures where no one was watching. If Johnny Depp, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts were horses, they'd be American Saddlebreds. William Shatner raises them which doesn't surprise me. (As I understand it, he named one of his horses after himself and I never tired of asking my dad when he'd breed one of his horses with William Shatner. my jokes were unoriginal but we both laughed anyway at the names we came up with.) Please enjoy this!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Our Latest Baby

I am showing you a picture of one of my dad’s horses and her baby. They are American Saddlebreds. The mother is Sea Princess and the baby is her latest. A lawyer who wound up helping my dad get fair prices for his horses after his stroke is now her owner-- after paying my mother a fair price! What I loved about Lynne was how much she and several people close to my parents made certain that they were not taken advantage of-- they didn't charge my mother for the feeding and care of my dad's horses, and they held out for good prices when they sold. Princess initially came to Alaska with a baby who we’d call Chugiak Sunshine. Sunny almost died of strangles and the vet was pleading with my dad to put her down. Princess was livid and was charging everyone who came into her stall and freely bit and stomped and I think that she broke someone’s toe. My dad refused to put Sunny down and everyone was calling Princess a mean horse. My dad said she was kind—she looked so softly at Sunny, he said she couldn’t be mean and that he was not putting her baby down or drugging the mother. Princess was nuzzling her, making her eat, constantly neighing at her. The vet kept saying, "Glen, in my opinion. . ." I heard my dad on the phone to him during that nightmare and I knew what the vet had said when I heard my dad say, "Everyone has two things: an a--h--- and an opinion and I don't want to hear about either of yours right now. We are not putting that filly down or drugging that mare! Leave it up to the mare and to God, and I'll tell you when I want your G-d-d---ed opinion!" Sunny lived!

Princess is 17.5 hands tall at her shoulder—tall enough for my dad to ride! My dad was very tall and imposing in his figure and he looked even taller, but very wrong on smaller horses. She’s huge and scared people. She didn’t let anyone near her and after she’d been up at the ranch for a bit, my dad decided that it was time to ride her. She’d been cast aside at her former ranch as a brood mare and abused by what we have concluded were ranch hands of a certain ethnic group at the AZ ranch she lived at—she would never tolerate a male of a particular ethnic group near her. Friends came by to help my dad break her in but she charged every one of them. Nothing was quite as scary as seeing her rear up on her hind legs—she looked like something out of Revelations! My dad knew she’d do OK because she responded to him by going into the coral, into her stall, eating, whatever, by when he opened doors or brought out food. Sea Princess didn't have to be lead. When Sunny gave my dad a bad time, Princess got upset with her and you could tell that she was scolding her by the tone of her neighs. She was a smart horse. When my dad decided to work with her, she went into charge mode. My dad went onto his knees. (I was in the living room ready to dial 911. I thought he was praying!) After a while she started sniffing him, then she would charge again. My dad didn’t move and kept talking to her. On one of her “flybys” she took his whip, then she looked at him and my dad was so funny, “Well, looks like you don’t like that!” She saw that he wasn’t reacting and then stomped the thing, picked it up with her teeth and threw it around and stomped it some more and neighed loudly at my dad, went up on her rear legs and charged him again, stopped two feet away from him and made dust at him, and saw that she could not rouse him. Several weeks later, he was riding her. I don’t think he would ever use a whip in her presence.

She and Sunny were my dad’s pets. He loved all of his horses but those two were a bit spoiled. They were the last to leave the ranch after he died. She went to the lawyer’s ranch. When she got there and got her out of the trailer, a bunch of little kids who took lessons there ran over, “It’s a Barbie horse!” They would wash her and she'd roll in the dirt and they'd wash her again-- she was always good with my older kids, too! The lawyer got a traveling trophy named for my dad down there—they used to not like palominos and put them down, even when my dad started breeding 15 years ago. Well, he liked the palominos and started breeding for them. A lot of people didn’t like that and he actually made enemies over it. (It wasn’t because he liked palominos that he made the enemies. They’d push their ideas like passionate people do, and my dad had a way with words and managed to tick them off.) I just got an email from my “sister” (one of my dad’s adopted in friendship daughters who is my age) and found out that so many of his horses are having babies of their own and winning championships. That makes me so happy. My dad isn’t watching his children from Heaven; he’s now got the best seats in the house at the shows! I told him he would do that.

Princess is 22 years old and you can tell this by her swayed back—and her uterus is not what it was. The vet said there was a one in several thousands of a chance that she’d get pregnant and carry it to term. (She has an official condition but I forget what it is.) They think my dad influenced the outcome! My sister-in-friendship owns Sky Guy, a horse who was born blind the day that she had a tragic accident and the doctors wanted to let her die, too.

I've often spoken of my crazy issues with my dad-- he was a colossal jerk except when it came to his horses and he didn't let any of us get close to them. Yes-- I have an issue with this, but he is gone now and all I can do is share my own passions with my children and not repeat that mistake. I've started to see the horses as his art and calling. I used to be sad hearing about his horses-- but now not at all. I am glad that he had the vision of carrying through and that they and their offspring are fulfilling destinies that he said they would. For the story of the Little Princes' birth (he doesn't have a name yet) click here to Lynne's ranch. (Also checkout her other horses! She also has donkeys and they are sooooo cool!) I wish that I could foresee one day owning a horse from my father's line but I doubt it will happen with costs of getting one up here one day and just what they are worth! I am grateful that she mentions my dad there and pays a little tribute to him in her stories of Sea Princess.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Holy Water Worked!

My car is out of the shop-- the belt just needed to be tightened! He changed my tires and everything and the bill came to $158! That is the smallest amount I have spent with him, I think. This is so excellent! Yes-- the Holy Water worked! The mechanic laughed when I told him this. I told him that his job is a ministry (he goes to a church that is similar to mine) and he hugged me and said he was glad that I feel like this. I gush-- I am so "born-again" about my vehicles.

My second eldest just got a job. It's at a little restaurant. She was so nervous for the interview and got dressed up--she was hired on the spot,then another girl went in looking like she'd been drinking and she got hired. My daughter was like, "I shaved my legs for this?" That is fine-- she is happy to have a job!

Every time I go to the store I am getting sticker shock. Everything is shooting up in price. The grocery store is the worst. I have always been frugal but I feel like I am getting silly about it, like my grandparents who'd been raised in the Depression. Everyday I bake three excellent meals,including desert, but even if I have extra tea I use it in my cakes. Parts of chicken that I used to throw away I now prepare in a soup. My eldest daughter was watching me shop and cook last weekend and she said, "You pinch Lincoln till he screams!" (President Lincoln is on our pennies. A common expression of someone saving money is that he or she "pinches pennies.")

I am getting pay-back for being a biatch in high school. I remember a woman who I look a lot alike now, with her two children in a mall. She was pretty and sweet and her two kids were 4 & 5 or so and she was sitting on a bench and carefully counting out money to buy them a pretzel to share. I thought, "Geez, Lady! It's just .85! Don't be so flipping cheap!" I went up and got myself a pretzel and paid for one for one of the ladies' kids and told the clerk that when the particular mother went up to make something up about the pretzel batch being about to expire or something, which she did so the lady and her two kids all had one and when I ate I heard the mother say a fast prayer and tell her kids that it was their lucky day as they got a free pretzel. Of course my being nice was condescending. I was not going to have children and I thought she was silly for having to budget for something so cheap. Now pretzels are not that cheap, but when I have the kids with me, I start them out with, "If I buy us pretzels, we will have to share. Are you all OK with sharing? If anyone doesn't want to share, you get no pretzel." (That is if I have some money to even buy pretzels or snacks.) I am so glad that I am in this situation now-- it is good for my soul! Yes, when we get a little extra from a nice baker, I am like that mother who was so happy and I say a little "prayer of thinks" and feel blessed, but I am paranoid about what people are secretly thinking of me when they offer it!

It's only the second day of summer and I drank 14 cups of tea yesterday. That is a stress sign. I drink tea to calm my nerves. The kids know that if I am having tea that they need to be quiet. I was having just three cups a day on the average all winter. I don't spike it-- it's just pure tea with almond milk, but I must be stressed! At least my vice is tea and not something stronger. I seldom have alcohol as too much in my system causes my skin to break out. I may have two or three glasses of wine or stout beer in a month. One of our neighbors is a man in his 50's with grown children. He can afford expensive lawn toys like rototillers and saws. He's going to till my lawn for me tonight. I am so grateful for him! He and my husband are going to make some playground equipment for the kids later.

I am keeping up with my art-- I have a dance class this evening. I am going toward something but I don't knwo what it is. Music, art, dance-- it's all for a purpose. I just don't know what!

The kids don't seem to mind the doing of school work in the mornings and going over things. Cloud is 12 and pouts-- she says it's not fair. Her brothers on the other hand do multiplication tables and match or beat their best times. The babies get read to and furiously scribble over their papers as they do their multiplication tables too. They always claim to beat their older brothers and they laugh, "How'd I get beat by a four year old? Man, I'll send him to school instead of going next year to fourth grade!" My four year old beams! They don't claim to beat Cloud-- she glares at them! (They giggle at her behind her back. Sigh.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Some more artwork--

This, like Wile E. Coyote, is gouache resistance. It is not easy to control. The postage stamps are of a lighthouse and a luxury boat. My friend who got this liked it and framed it in her office. Her address went at the bottom of the card. My message went on the back.

To me the stamps are often as important as the message. This lady is an employee trainer who works with hard-to-place clients. My message was along the lines of, "I made this and thought of you!" She has often said that in her job she is a lighthouse bring people's ships in. She also loves luxury (her husband has a gorgeous boat) and the sleek boat is a tribute to that!

My favorite medium for my art is envelops and post cards. I don't like making cards so much because I like the element of surprise with the post office-- hand canceling my work, they become part of the artwork and make it more alive. On Wile E., I needed extra postage and I explained to the clerk my theory on art. I gave her the money and told her to choose a stamp and put it on. She laughed so hard at me getting excited, "See? Now it is alive!"

Some artwork-- finally!

I turned these into things to mail. When you make an envelope go the long way, it becomes a flat and costs .83 to mail. This does not bother me-- I over spend on stamps all the time because I use them like stickers!

Wile E. Coyote went to a friend who is nuts about him-- I put his address in the sign he is holding. I of course would put more stamps on this.

The lady in the green blazer is me. My sons saw it and said, "She looks just like you" and confirmed what I thought. A close up of her is in my picture in my profile.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sucked into Anime

I will be posting some of my artwork tonight.

I just drew myself in anime but I don't know what my superpower will be. I had to draw the kids. And the dog. And the cats and all my friends. My kids like it and I thought it was cool. Now I'm obsessed. I'll just show my own pic for now and some other works that I have turned into post cards with gouache resistance. I'm getting used to drawing with colored pencils-- I never used them as I didn't knwo how to blend them. I'm just learning the medium.

This is a Donny Osmond song, believe it or not. I think that Donny is a stallion even though I was too young to appreciate him during his heyday. I like this anime version.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day!

It is Mother's Day

my mom won't see this blog but I've made her a pretty card for the day. . .

My mom has always looked like a million dollars. The first time my husband saw her, she was in a red dress and looked like Jessica Rabbit and he said he decided to marry me then. I thought that she was a movie star until she took me to her work where she was a commercial insurance broker. The image was shattered until she explained to me what it meant to insure businesses. Then I decided that she was like Florence Nightingale of businesses and I was proud of her. She had better taste than anyone I knew, dressed to the nines all the time and was classy. One day we went to a really swanky restaurant for lunch-- I think that I'd had an eye doctor appointment-- and the waitress was rude to us and everyone else. My mom left a double tip and complimented the maitre d' in front of her and told him how she brightened up the room with her presence. The waitress' face lit up and later my mom went back and that told her how her life had been falling apart that day and how she had been afraid that she'd loose her job but found the ability to smile after my mom's compliment. (It wasn't that she was rude-- she was sad!) My mom was NOT understanding at home, but I appreciate how good she was to people. She had money and lots of it and she helped other women out all the time in small ways.

My mom used to take me figure skating at 4:30 every morning in spire of working 12-16 hour days for her clients. It wore her out and I was too oblivious to know. I pay her back by taking her granddaughters and grandsons to their own early morning practices.

She had a disdain for my teachers. I thought she was a snob until fairly recently when I told her that the kids' teachers seem to want me in volunteering all the time when she told me about how my teachers always asked her to come in and volunteer. She was overwhelmed with her own life, oversaw her own employees as well as he own book of business and they rebuffed her over not wanting to come in.

My mom was an artist-- I remember her scribbling one day and seeing it and I saved it for years. It was of tree branches and a sunset. She is going back to that. Sadly but good for her-- since my dad died, she doesn't have to babysit him and his horses. She is dating someone who inspires her and knows when to leave her alone. She is now encouraging me and putting me in touch with a few artist friends and we are exchanging ideas. We like each other now.

I like how my mom has aged. She sent me a pic of her in tight jeans, leather jacket and a bobbed hair do. I sent it to my husband and he said, "When did you do this and not tell me?" She still looks like she is 40 or younger. I have been blessed with her genetic make-up.

Friday, May 09, 2008

School is almost out!

I have no idea what I will do with my children for the summer! Eek! We'd hoped to take them to a town a few hundred miles away from where we live so they can see the ocean, but the gas prices are killing us and even driving into the City is steep. I have a friend in England who has seldom left her city and I couldn't BELIEVE it but now. . . I can believe it!

My husband is wanting to buy them some art supplies and have me let them work on art each day and do some school work. It's not about enjoying a break for them but sanity for me.

I get to plant flowers around the icons at my church. Things die that I plant but the priest's wife just laughed and said my hands are blessed this year. She usually does this and loves the job and it's not like she has a shortage of volunteers. I think she wants me more involved. I'm actually liking it. I'll probably plant what does well in our area. I'd thought about doing a Marian Garden in the catholic tradition, but I get snapped at about not being Catholic by a deacon when I do anything that reminds him of Catholics. (I was raised Lutheran which is close to Catholic and you can't get it out of me!)

There is a sidewalk art competition coming up in July-- I am getting a composition ready for that. I can't wait to start massage school. We have five athletic teams right now playing t-ball, base and soft ball. College is over but I am already worn out with my so-called break!

My operation is on hold-- I have a bad infection in my foot and they are giving me antibiotics for it. I've had it for several months and thought it would go away when I had strep, but alas it hung around.

I have 15 credits left if I don't minor in art. Last semester full time was too much. I am dropping down to a writing internship and an online class-- both to be done from home and locally. The last three classes are going to be a headache as they will be in the spring and it's costly to get to the classes with how high the prices are now.

The prices are fun-- they have become a challenge to the kids and I. Even in the best of times my husband and I have had to struggle and that's not bad. What's funny is that I realized that I spend about $120 or more each year on Dreft laundry detergent (it's good for people with allergies) so I have started making my own and it works well. I also make my own dishwasher detergent which I spend even more on each year. I did not know that I could make my own. In the back yard we have a laundry line and clothes get dry faster than they do in the dryer even in my cool weather! I spend about $250 a year (combined) on laundry and dishwasher detergent and I have just spent about $50 on a years' supply for both. Making them is not hard.

The boys are learning to bake brownies and cookies and the other stuff that the girls seem born knowing how to make as they hang with me. My 12 year old was proud of her 8 year old brother for making some really good brownies and had me sample both of them and ask which was better-- I'd not say but agreed that they were both delicious. He was proud of himself. They are helping me bake bread every night. They have also agreed to help me with a vegetable garden. Forced economy can be fun if you are able to respond to it well.

Mother's Day is this weekend. My church doesn't get into it, but I wish I had money to take my children out like I send my mother flowers on my birthday. I may complain, but they are all great kids. They just got home from school and gave me presents-- the best kind that get lost normally. This year I have a box to put the presents in. They are hand printed butterflies and hand print birds and flowers. I will make a nice lunch on Saturday night and we will go on a hike on Sunday.

I've changed my music to Willie Nelson-- You were Always on My Mind and Toby Keith with Willie in Whiskey for my Men. I grew up listening to Willie-- I hated him. I was raised to hate marijuana smoke and the lifestyle, yet there my parents were, listening to him and Johny Cash and other country music. They'd play him and many other country musicians at night. This time of the year with the windows open, you could smell faint aromas of horse manure, hay and clover and maybe, if the wind was just right, the tractor. My parents would have drinks and the house had a party atmosphere. They'd have friends over and there'd usually be drinking but nothing bad and laughter filling the house. After the age of 14, I'd have often made the dinner for everyone and helped serve it on a table that I'd set. (I liked doing this-- I am not suggesting child labor!)

Since last year I have started to listen to this again. I hardly drink because even small amounts of fermented fruit cause me to break out, but I like to have a glass of wine when I can afford what my parents, wine connoisseurs shared with me and my brother. My kids hated it but as soon as I told them that their grand parents loved it, they tolerate it. Music like this massages my mind-- stress from money problems goes away because money was not an issue to my parents as far as I understood it. The food always tastes better. The kids ask about their cowboy grandfather and I tell them funny stories. My husband loves coming home and hearing the music when he parks the car.