Sunday, February 27, 2011

How fast can a rabbit eat lettuce?

How fast can a rabbit munch a piece of lettuce?  Does "inhale" conjure up an image?

Watching this was rather like watching someone "slurp" spaghetti - only without the noise and the flying sauce.  However, there was a lot of finesse and exhuberance - and a definite excited enjoyment!

Made me think that I ought to take a little lesson from Benny Bunny.  I need to stop and enjoy the blessings that are right in front of me with this same sense of joy and excitement.  After all, you can only get out of life what your attitude puts into it. 

This was, after all lettuce but Benny's attitude toward lettuce is a bit different than my attitude toward lettuce.  *winks*

Time for me to adjust my attitude and wander off to check out the roses - and the lettuce.  How about you?


Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Psalm 34:8

Friday, February 25, 2011

You just never know what you will see next out here! Funtry Friday!

Keep your eyes open and you will be surprised
by what you see out in the country!

What's going on out there?
Cows!  Can we go play?

Bet this isn't something you see on Main St., Big City, USA.
Round-up time!

I have learned to walk softly and look carefully 
because you never know what beautiful things you might miss ~
like this 'ice collage' shining in the morning light.

I've learned to look at things from a different angle.
And, I've learned that Billie Jane would rather eat breakfast
than watch me take pictures!

But I still stop and enjoy the simple sights ~
like ice crystals and interesting abstract shapes
that just happen to catch my eye.

Speaking of ice crystals and abstract shapes ~ check this out!
The entire surface is frozen in a pattern of ice crystals 
and around the sides there are ice crystals
hovering above the surface.

Amazing!  They are almost an inch above the water - er, ice - line.
I tried to hold one to photograph it, but the warmth of my fingers melted it before the camera could focus.  LOL - fast ice, slow camera =p

One of my favorite country things is all the fresh produce and eggs.
Since early February she has presented me with 16 eggs!
That is pretty spectacular for a 14 year old chicken =)
With all these nice big eggs, I think it's time to do some baking!

What's your favorite country sight?
Share it with me in the comments!

Happy Funtry Friday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Need a little artistic recharge?

Hey, we all need to feed our creativity now and then and what better way than to see what’s going on out in the wide world of art? I was touring around the internet today, and look at the fun things I found!

Linda Donnelly has a great hint on her blog. She tells us how to recycle those little bags that just keep piling up and piling up. She came up with a very fun way to use them!

I like to have fun in the studio, too, and this was such a fun project. The final mixed media painting turned out really neat!

Here's what the finished painting looks like ~

"Cactus Faces" - 2.5 x 3.5 inches - Original mixed media painting -ACEO
Check out Linda Matthews website and you will find all kinds of tutorials and great ideas for projects. Quilting, sewing, fabric printing, image transfer and lots more topics are covered. Better give yourself lots of time to cruise around here!

Just want to see some great artwork? Check out this Huffington Post article to see some sidewalk art – trompe-l’oeil at its largest!

Want to have a little fun? You know you do! Check this out ~

All recharged now? Have fun and let me know what you created!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Photoshop wonderful to Grandmother's rescue!

Here is my poor tattered grandmother before the wonders of Photoshop ~

The same hand colored image photographed in a huge improvised red neck light box ~

And here is the image after the wonders of Photoshop ~

Well, now that looks a lot better!   Do you have a tattered torn old photo that you want to restore with Photoshop?  Here are a few simple things I learned along the way - in not so technical terms - although knowing a few basics will help.
  • Start with a really good photograph with a very high resolution.  In other words, pack that baby with tons of pixels.  The more little pixels pokey dots that you have, the smoother the overall appearance will be when your project is finished.
  • Use a light box to eliminate shadows and reflection.  I totally invented one because I didn't have anything big enough for this hand colored photograph.  I used a white heavy canvas hung up by the window.  I propped up the photograph and held one side of the canvas in place while I took one-handed pictures using the light from the window.  I told you it was really red-neck.  It worked, though.  See how there is bright white where the rips in the canvas are?  And notice that the reflections are all gone?  Okay.  red-neck works sometimes!
  • You will use the 'clone brush' for this project.  Where it is, depends on what version of Photoshop you have and how you have everything set up.  Ummm.... for really technical stuff, look in your manual...  please...
  • When you pick your brush thingy to clone with, pick one with fuzzy edges.  That will make the overlapping edges look smoother. 
  • Adjust the transparency of your brush thingy so that it is not 100%.  Play with it to see what looks best. 
  • Watch where your brush is going.  I spent a lot of time undoing stuff because my brush had traveled to a completely different place and the resulting color was totally not what I wanted.
  • Take your time.  If you get bored, walk away from your project and come back later.  The temptation is to get a bigger and bigger brush to hurry through the boring parts, but that just makes it look funky.
  • And, remember to have fun!
I had a lot of fun restoring this image of my grandmother and it was easier than I thought it would be.  Do you have an old photo hiding in the drawer?  Take it out and have a little fun!  Lots of these hints can be applied to other photo editing programs, too.  Are you going to do it?


Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

Friday, February 18, 2011

Not exactly the soaring eagle... airborne Funtry Friday!

Not a sleek flying machine, but it's surprising how high and how far guinea fowl can fly.  Check this out ~

Lookie here - this one got all the way up to the roof of my little hay barn and that's pretty high.  You should hear the racket inside when they tap dance up there!  And, because I am a bit weird, it makes me laugh to hear it ;-)

Okay, here we are - scoping out a possible launch site...  Apparently the chicken coop roof looks pretty good.

And.... tada!  Airborne - albeit briefly...

Now that is a LOT of frantic flapping going on there - trust me - and a few feathers are flying in all directions, too.  No wonder there is always an abundance of feathers for the grandkiddos to pick up!

Oh, and speaking of Mikayla and Naomi, I think I may have won the goathead race...

Nice, huh...  We'll have to check with them to see if they agree since they invented the game when they were visiting me.  Check out this Funtry Friday blog post to see all the games they invented!

One thing for sure, there's nothing quite like a great country sunset!

It's a wonderful way to end a Funtry Friday!  Hope you had a great day, too.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Welcome to our family, Sophia Etalemaw Hellman!

Sophia Etalemaw Hellman has been officially adopted by Timothy and Cynthia and here she is!

If you have a heart for adoption...

...and you would like to help...

...Timothy and Cynthia with their adoption expenses...

...please visit my Adopt Art page for more information...

...and then take a tour in the Adopt Art Gallery  and have some fun!

Now that Sopia Etalemaw has been adopted, her growing mountain of paperwork is being submitted to the American Embassy in Ethiopia.  The latest update from Cynthia is ~

Our paperwork is in the process of being submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia. Our agency has suggested Embassy will clear us for travel around mid-late March! Nothing is too big for our God!!

Thank you all for your prayers, kind words and support that you have given all of us along this journey!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

No room for black on my palette!

Nope!  Lots of colors on my palette, but no black here.

Oh, yeah - and my palette is a little messy right now. I've had a very busy painting week and it shows!

But wait, I was talking about black - or rather the absense of black - on my palette, wasn't I?!  Hey - take a look -

There's all my happy little colors! 

Don't I ever need black, you ask?  Well, in a manner of speaking, sometimes I do.  I just finished a little stack of paintings and one of them was a painting of a 'black' dog.

Have you got a 'black' dog handy?  Take a close look.  (note that I did not insert a 'black-lip-dog' joke in here!)  Just how 'black' is your dog?  I rest my case.

See!  That's why there isn't any black on my palette.  Because I prefer to mix a chromatic black that I can change to suit my exact needs for each portion of each painting including the not-so-black dog paintings! 

Chromatic black - now doesn't that sound fancy *winks* - check it out!

Actually, mixing a chromatic black is simple.  Basically, you take a nice earth tone color, mix a little nice blue in there, and add just a smidge of a rich red.  Voila - chromatic black.  In my case, I used burnt sienna, ultramarine deep and alizarin crimson and, by changing the amount of each color, I can control the warmth or coolness of the black.  Because all of these are pure colors, both they and the chromatic black can be used in lovely glaze washes without turning to mud.

Cool, huh?!  I keep lots of notes like this in my little palette book.  Do you have a nifty little book where you keep your helpful notes?

Happy - and color filled - painting!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How to tame a rabbit...

Shhhhh!  Be very quiet and take a little peek at how you can make friends with a very shy rabbit!

I thank God for precious moments like this!


Friday, February 4, 2011

The amazing Mrs. Chicken ~ Funtry Friday!

Check this out!
That's an egg!!!! 

What?  You aren't excited about this egg?  Well, how about these eggs ~

Here are four lovely large green eggs!  Four amazing lovely large green eggs!!!

Huh?  What's so amazing?  Well, they were all laid by my lovely little hen, Christmas Two, this week!  Isn't she pretty?

Pretty ~ and pretty amazing, too!  My amazing Mrs. Chicken is (as near as I can figure) 14 years old.  Ummm... in chicken years, that is really old!  Old enough to be waaaaaaaayyyyy past laying eggs... 

Almost as old as Matilda.  Ummm....  who was Matilda?  Well, she was the first chicken to receive the title of World's Oldest Living Chicken from Guinness World Records.  Find out more about her on Wikipedia.  Most chickens, according to Wikipedia, live to be 7 or 8 years old. 

****Whoa****  See ~ she is my amazing Mrs. Chicken!  She hadn't produced any eggs since summer, so I considered her 'retired from laying eggs'.  Then she surprised me with four eggs this week!  I would still have thought that she was pretty amazing even if she hadn't laid any eggs ~ but now I think she is twice as amazing.

So are you happy I didn't show you any ice this Funtry Friday?  Or are you missing it?  Okay ~ if you are tired of all the 'ice whining', close your eyes!

The wind blew so hard that it froze the water in wave patterns!

This is about eight inches of ice frozen in layers over two days.
Okay - you can open your eyes, now! 

Hope you enjoyed this eggs-citing news from the fowl weather country!

Hunker down and stay warm!  Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Confessions of a brush-aholic...

What can I say?  I get whiplash in the brush section of the art store.  Not only that, but I'm so bad that I get whiplash in the brush section of the hardware store.  Brushes...  ahhhhhh.... 

Here are a few of my favorite brush friends.

Yes, I know, I said a few.  Okay, really - some people buy shoes.  I buy brushes.  It works out to be about the same except that sometimes I go barefoot.

Each of these brushes has it's own personality, too - it's own 'dance' on the paper. 

Here - I'll show you!  Take a look at this brush - the Yarka No. 4 Siberian Squirrel brush (3rd from the top in the picture ^^^^ up there).

Funky, fluffy hair - until you get it wet.

Ooohhh, la la la la!  Hey - these are watercolor brushes *winks* so it does take water to bring out the best 'dance steps'!  This baby holds a LOT of water, can lay down a big wash, and yet has a 'tip toe' point.  Kind of the ballet shoes in the brush closet.

Let the 'dance' begin!  Here comes that big wash...

and, now it is time for the quiet little tip toe!

Technically, these are not called 'ballet slippers' they are called 'cats tongue' brushes, and they come in lots of sizes.

These are Silver Rennaissance Sable Cats Tongue brushes in sizes 6, 4, and 1.  Does the little tiny size 1 German brush perform the same way as the whompin' big Russian brush?  You bet!

Bitsy brush spreads out...

...and then dances on a teeny tiny tip toe!

These little cats tongue brushes have to be my absolute favorites for detail work.  They are so easy to control and they hold a LOT of paint.  Wonderful for all those manes and tails that seem to appear on my watercolor paper!

If you've never tried one before, it's the perfect excuse to go visit your local art store.  Just remember to ask for cats tongue brushes...  not ballet slippers!

Happy painting!

PS  Check this out for some fancy 'foot work' - a little 'piroet' by each of the four brushes featured here.

Grab your dance partner and have some fun!
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