November 29, 2008

Firefly FUN

Growing up in a small rural town back in the 70's, my family lived in an old farmhouse. My brother and I each had our own bedroom. Our house was set back off a winding road in the mountains of Virginia.

The stained wood floors creaked when you stepped on certain boards. There were all kinds of noises that the old house made on it's own.

My bedroom; upstairs, had a secret closet with hidden nooks and crannies. It was a wonderful room with large windows that stretched nearly ceiling to floor. The thick panes of glass had bubbles in them- a method of making glass from a time in the past. Inside the window casings were bricks and ropes that allowed the windows to be lowered and raised.

It was a nice room and a nice place to live. I was a lucky little girl to awaken to a view of mountains and trees from every window.

But when the sun went down and bed time was upon me, my room took on another dimension. It was BIG, DARK and SCARY to me. I imagined ghosts and witches hiding in my closet and under my bed. My room was the perfect spot for the "boogie man" to reside. There were no street lights to light up an outside view. I was scared and felt so small in my bedroom all alone.

On one particular Summer evening as I frolicked outside, I had a fantastic idea. I would collect fireflies, as many as I could possibly catch in the old mason jar my Mom let me use. I filled it up with the glowing creatures and secretly hid them away in my room.

After the bedtime stories were read and I was all tucked in for the night, I quietly tip toed to my hidden glowing treasure and opened the jar. Each wonderful glowing bug flew out into the room, flashing, glowing, flashing, glowing. I had finally found a way to overcome my fear of the dark.

So, here is the watercolor I painted to commemorate that wonderful glowing night in my bedroom where I was set free by the little night lights from above.





November 24, 2008

Colours For Children Christmas Give-Away-I NEED YOUR HELP!

Sooooo, do you want to win some original Art? Well, here's your opportunity! I am proud to announce an Art give-away that starts today! COLOURS FOR CHILDREN CHRISTMAS GIVE-AWAY. All you have to do is click on the hummingbird and you could win weekly prints and an original watercolor in the final week of the give-away!


All of this came about because of my LOVE for the island of Jamaica and her people! FOJ- or Friends of Jamaica is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to improving educational opportunities and medical care for the children of Jamaica.


I am a member of a message board called Negril.com. I was led to their site and have come to know many members. During one visit to the board I read about a benefit that was taking place in Illinois to help the children of Jamaica and I inquired if I could donate some art for the silent auction. This is how I came to know FOJ (Friends of Jamaica). Marcia, the director has done so much to raise awareness and raise contributions for the children of this third world country.



If you read some of my previous posts you will find out more about my connection to the island and how I try to make a small difference there!



And I have a SPECIAL FAVOR to ask of anyone that comes to my site... Would you please copy and paste the hummingbird at the top of this post with the link to the FOJ website and put it on your blog where it will be seen for the next 5 weeks? I need all the help I can get in trying to raise awareness and donations for the Jamaican children. You can enter the give-away too! A donation is not required in order to participate but for $5 you can get a really nice print or an original watercolor painting.



I would like to THANK YOU and THANK YOU again if you do put this on your site and PLEASE leave me a comment to let me know that you did. I appreciate your help with this!



Please enter as many times as you want! Remember the give-away is FREE to enter but you can also enter by making a $5 donation!





November 23, 2008

The Spirit of Christmas Continues...

Here's another watercolor I completed last night!















And another from today... I'm calling this one " A Cardinal Day" ! What do you think?













November 22, 2008

I'm in the Spirit


The digital camera I am using to photograph my Art isn't the best, but I'm hoping Santa might bring me a better one!
We'll see... Anyway, here are some recent watercolors that I have completed for Christmas so far!












More are on the way...




November 19, 2008

Well Wishes to Lady Roots-Voice from Jamaica

I love my LadyRoots-my beautiful and soulful friend that lives on the island of Jamaica!

I have been traveling to Jamaica since 2000. I fell in love with the island and her people on my first trip there and continue to return year after year. There is something about Jamaica, her people, the music and the spirit of this place that touches my very soul.

Prior to my most recent trip (July 08), I was searching the Internet and was led to "Voice From Jamaica". As Lady Roots later reminded me this was not a chance encounter my stumbling across her blog, I think she said something like "The student is always led to the teacher."

I started to communicate with LR via email, asking questions and probing her for information. She was always gracious in her responses but was equally direct with them.

We actually got to know one another fairly well from these emails and felt comfortable in our Internet friendship.

Long story short, prior to my trip, we decided to meet while I was there. She lived nearly 5 hours away from where I would be staying and I had no transportation. She was willing to come to me so that we could meet. I was so excited about this and so was LR, even though our husbands were somewhat reserved about the idea. We (LR and I) both knew why; being cautious was most of it but, what it was more about was that neither had ever developed Internet friendships before and really couldn't get a grasp of that whole concept.

That didn't deter LR and I and we met on that beautiful day in July. We shared a meal together and a wonderful swim in the beautiful warm Caribbean.

During my visits to "Voice from Jamaica", I was amazed at all of the beaded creations that LR made. I stopped by my local beading shop and selected some beads to bring LR as a small gift for taking the time to talk to me and for believing in our destined friendship.




One day, I received this beautiful gift from LR-made from some of the beads that I had given to her. I was so amazed at the beauty of the gift but more importantly at the beauty of the giver.

Lady Roots is my soulful friend forever and I love her for her thoughts, beauty, inspiration and the very kindness she exudes in just being herself. As I write this, I would like for all of you, my friends, to say a prayer for LR as she has most recently broken her ankle and will require surgery next week. You can also visit her blog and lavish well wishes, love and prayers on her there!

"Bless up" as she says and "Heal up" as I will say now! LadyRoots-you sweet and lovely soul-my friend FOREVER! I LOVE YOU! xoxoxo

November 18, 2008

giRLS NiGHt

And this is the cast of characters for our Girls Night 11/14/08.
We met after work and headed out to the country for the evening. My girlfriends-artists and women that I have known for 20+ years.


We had a wonderful meal, great conversation, a few brews and a lot of laughs.


After dinner we made some yummy coffee drinks and spent some time soaking in the hot tub.


It was an excellent evening together, just girls-fun, food, and friendship. An evening shared together as women, artists, sisters in LIFE.

November 15, 2008

November 13, 2008

The Marie Antoinette Award


The Marie-Antoinette -A Real Person, A Real Award

I'm so excited! My first blog AWARD- The Marie-Antoinette, A Real Person, A Real Award. It was bestowed upon me by Art Lover
I'm not really sure why I deserve this award other than I AM REAL and I always will be-shootin' straight from the heart with loads of LOVE!
So, the rules for winning the award are as follows:
1. Please put the logo on your blog
2. Place a link to the person from whom you received the award
3. Nominate at least 7 or more blogs
4. Put the links of those blogs on your blog
5. Leave a message on their blogs to tell them.
And my 7 Awards go to:
2. LadyRoots-Voice from Jamaica-My soulful friend forever
3. Bev at Bev's Jewelry-A very sweet and kind jeweler
4. Faye at Blogging Women-An advocate for Women
5. Carolyn at The Wild Gypsy-An insightful passionate Artist
6. Pam Warden at Pam Warden Art-An inspirational & kind artist
7. Nolly Posh-A lover of life & Art

So, that's my list. Thanks to all of YOU for inspiring ME!



November 11, 2008

Ginkgo Biloba

This is the wonderful BRIGHT YELLOW Ginkgo biloba tree outside the front door where I work. You can't tell by these photos just how bright yellow this tree is.
The Ginkgo biloba tree is a unique species of tree with no close living relatives. What does that mean? Well, it is a living fossil. Some fossils of the ginkgo dating back 270 million years. Why? Because it is the only species within its group. For centuries it was thought to be extinct in the wild, but is now known to grow in at least 2 small areas in Eastern China. (Well, we have 1 right here in downtown Richmond, Virginia)


Ginkgos have a resistance to disease and have insect resistant wood giving them the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts making them very long lived trees-some specimens lasting for 2,500 years! WOW!
These trees are dioecious (separate sexes) some trees male and some female. This is a female tree just outside our front door. This tree produces seeds that are encapsulated inside a brownish fleshy outer covering. And get this-they SMELL absolutely horrible. You wouldn't believe it if I told you-they smell like dog poo!
As I mentioned, this tree is just outside the building where I work, and about this same time every year it produces its fruit. Folks walking by always step on the seeds causing them to burst and let out their terrible smell. Whenever this happens, the people look on the bottom of their shoes thinking they have stepped in a pile of poo, but NO, it's just the annual droppings from the ginkgo tree. Apparently these seeds have a chemical called butanoic acid (which is also found in rancid butter and feces) that causes them to smell this way. Poor ginkgo tree-no one really likes it because of the SMELL! Well, I do- like the tree that is, not the smell.

Every year our employees look up at the tree noticing its fruit that will be dropping soon and they dread it-the smell that is. We call it the doo doo ball tree-that's sad, isn't it? It really is a LOVELY tree in spite of itself!
























Something else to note about the Ginkgo...the extract from the leaves contain flavonoid glycosides & terpenoids which are used as a memory and concentration enhancer. According to some studies Ginkgo can significantly improve attention in healthy individuals and the effect is almost immediate after intake. Ginkgo shows promise in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. *(all of this information taken from Wikipedia)
So, even though our Ginkgo is a very stinky tree. I still LOVE her just the same!

November 9, 2008

Beach Escape-Thomas Palliative Care Unit

And this is how I started my day yesterday...with a very large blank wall-my canvas-where to begin?
The Thomas Palliative Care Unit located at MCV Medical Center Massey Cancer Center has a unique, home-like environment. There are volunteers throughout the unit and many more dedicated people making a difference for patients and their families struggling with cancer and the many effects it has, emotionally and physically.
I was provided with this great opportunity to paint "something beachy" in the family room. The unit had collectively decided on the theme. Let the painting begin...

I sketched a palm tree and a FLOWER on the wall and prepared my pallet. Ellie Coyne is the kind, calming and gracious lady that I initially met with to discuss the project. She is very much aware of ALL that is needed to restore the soul during one's battle with the "BIG C".

I also met 2 young college students, Salima & Tran (each studying and working toward medical school) volunteers; that give their time to make a difference on the unit. I could tell that they wanted to help paint the mural-and that they did, adding seashells, a sailboat and a starfish! Perfect!

I will return next Saturday to complete the beach escape. I hope that this gift will allow those coping with the difficult task of healing, an escape if only for a moment, to get away to another place that is peaceful, soothing and comforting.
Praise be to GOD who is the ultimate healer and allows each one of us to become an instrument in His grand world of LOVE!

















IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO THE MASSEY CANCER CENTER... Please click on the yellow link, top left side on my site!




November 6, 2008

Victoria's Room


This is Victoria's room, and is one of the first murals that I painted. It was so much fun to do! Her parents allowed me Artistic freedom but with a particular theme in mind. The wall colors were already in place. The division of the green and blue made a perfect line for me to paint directly on to-creating a border.


I enjoyed painting each flower, ladybug and butterfly.






The dandelions that blew through the air made this room especially whimsical and the dance of color, shape and detail transformed the blue and green walls into something quite magical!
I just LOVE painting murals and bringing life to an otherwise plain wall!