Sunday, July 29, 2012

Irritating "hot topics"...

This week the news seemed to be full of angry shouting people.  I wish I could say that I was beginning to wonder where the ability to have a civil discussion has gone, but I have to say that I am well into the middle or perhaps past the middle in wondering.  It seems like everyone is so interested in shouting their personal belief that they end up drowning out their own ability to hear.  

Please understand that I do think we need to take a stand for what we are passionate about.  Passion calls us to action, it moves us forward, and it pushes us to learn and grow.  Making decisions based on knowledge we have gained and taking a stand for those decisions is important.  Making sure that knowledge is truthful and accurate is crucial to making a wise decision.  No one likes to be deceived, whether intentionally or unintentionally.  Unfortunately many people are being deceived by themselves because they only listen to what they want to hear and they only believe what is comfortable.  It seems to me that once a belief is challenged and the ‘line’ of comfort is crossed, anger rises, and labels and rehearsed answers become easier than dialog.

If I say that I am pro-life, then it makes different people think different thoughts.  Some cheer and are glad to have the company, some apply a label and quietly move on, some become angry and want to tell me how stupid I am, and some stand on the sidelines to see who will emerge victorious.  But does anyone wonder what I mean by pro-life?  Each person’s reaction has their own label attached to it and they presume that they know what I mean if I attach the label pro-life to myself.  Attaching labels can be risky because everyone else’s baggage comes with it.

I prefer to say that I believe in the sanctity of every life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.  From the time the baby is in the womb, the baby is ‘he’ or ‘she’ to me – not it.  Disability does not devalue life in my eyes.  Age does not become a reason to encourage suicide.  The closest ‘hot topic term’ that fits what I believe is ‘pro-life’ but that term does not usually inspire enough dialog for people to learn what I believe.  The response seems to be to attack with rehearsed rhetoric or to quietly slip away hopefully unnoticed.  

Unfortunately, no matter what the ‘hot topic’ is and no matter which side is being stated, the response seems to be identical. Sadly we seem to have lost the ability to communicate – the ability to have a civil discussion.  Without this how can I share what I believe with you?  How can you share your passion with me? 

How can we stop this downhill spiral?

Perhaps it isn’t hopeless.  I am willing to listen.  Are you?  I can put away the media’s tendency to stereotype and label people.  Can you?   If each of us does this with every uncomfortable conversation we encounter, perhaps we can begin to change the way people respond to each other – one conversation at a time.  I may not change my point of view – and you may not either – but a conversation that begins with respect opens lines of communication that name calling and canned rhetoric close.

Of course, the angry shouting people will still make headlines.  Quiet intelligent conversation is probably not going to make the nightly news; however, it may open many barricaded hearts wounded by previous battles.  There is a saying that goes something like this:  God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we might listen twice as often as we speak.  I think I will start there.

I’m listening.


22:36 Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?  22:37 Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  22:38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 22:39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  22:40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:36 - 40 NET

Friday, July 27, 2012

Week in review - Funtry Friday!

Hi there!  Glad you are joining me for a little Funtry Friday tour of my crazy week!

Earlier this week, I decided that I wanted to take a really nice picture of Billie Jane so I could do a really nice painting of her.  "Smile, Billie Jane!"

If I had tried to get her to stick out her tongue, it would have never happened!

I did take a lot of photos to get this fun picture of the baby swallows next door.

Apparently three out of the swallows agree that it is feeding time!

Eggs, eggs, eggs!  I just love the way that not only does each breed of chickens have different eggs, but each hen lays a slightly different color and size within their breed. 

Those teeny tiny little eggs belong to a full grown hen.  Here she is standing next to a Bantam.

This hen is really small!  I think she is only about 5 or 6 inches tall.

We have been having clouds almost every afternoon.  As I write this, more are gathering, though today there is still a lot of blue sky.  The other day we had a little bit of rain, and this ~

Oi!  Another one of those photographs that, had I been trying to get that picture, I would probably not have succeeded.  Yikes!  I hope all the lightening stays up in the sky and I don't have a repeat of this scene!

I had my post-surgery check up this week.  This is in the exam room.  I have seen it before.

I have a t-shirt that says, Dyslexia makes reading nuf Nuf NUF!  Yes.  As I said, I have seen this sign before, but when I read it, I still see "SNORING AND SLEEP AREA".   Nuf, indeed!
Makes me want a nap every time!

Hope you had a great week.  Thanks for dropping by and enjoying Funtry Friday with me!


PS The Blogging Business Artisans have a monthly challenge and here is the one for July:
July Challenge - Jenny (Bird in the Hand Art) - Summer Lovin'
Anything summer-related, love-related, GREASE (the movie related)

These are all some of my favorite summer things around here - well, provided the lightening stays in the sky, and I get the nap with out having to go to the doctor's office!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Art Masking Fluid Fun!

Using art masking fluid to block out areas on watercolors is not only fun, it can become a little bit addicting!

Remember this little critter?

I have been playing with the art masking fluid again and adding more layers of paint.

I am building up the dark areas gradually.  With each wash, I am continuing to add more art masking fluid to preserve some of the previous color before I add the next wash.

When I get to the last wash and take off all of the art masking fluid, it will be like Christmas!  I have no idea exactly what it will look like, but it has been fun to add layer upon layer. 

I did discover something today... When you are warm the fan will feel very good to you; however, it will dry the masking fluid before it hits the paper...

See the big chunky green globs?  Yep.  The masking fluid dried in the brush and on the paper faster than I could dip the brush and get it back to the painting.  Crazy!  When that happens, your brush will pick up whatever masking fluid is already on the paper and it all becomes a gooey mess.  To fix it, I turned the fan down - and then repainted the masking fluid area.  I think it will work okay, even though it isn't very pretty. 

I had a bit more fun with the little ACEO firework paintings, too.  I added several layers of paint with several layers of masking fluid to them, as well.

They are still a "work in progress", as I want to add a bit more color and perhaps some iridescent paint.  Then I will do one more wash to add some darks to the background. 

If you want to learn how to use the art masking fluid and to see some hints that make it super easy, check out my Independence Day blog post.  haha - I spent the 4th of July painting!

If you like to play with new art ideas, check out my Tutorials page - there are lots of fun ideas there!

Happy creating!

ACEO stands for Art Card Editions and Originals and they are little 2.5 by 3.5 inch works of art.  They may be done in any media and any subject - they just have to be that trading card size.  ACEOs are lots of fun to collect and to create!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Adoption from the inside out.

Is there a little something missing from the picture you are painting for your life?  Does it seem a little bland, lifeless, lacking in the splashes of color that bring daily smiles? Can’t quite put your finger on what’s missing?

My adopted granddaughter, Sophia - HOME!

It might be adoption.  You just might be missing a smile from someone a continent away. 
I would like you to meet Shannon and Vince who are in the process of adopting two beautiful children from a country in Europe we shall refer to as Spaghettia.  

Welcome to adoption – from the inside out.

Andrey, waiting to come home.

Here are some of Shannon’s thoughts from her blog, Copperlight Wood:

“There is a country that I used to not care about. I didn't know where it was on the map. I didn't know its shape, its capital, its distance from us, or the issues facing it. But now, I can tell you the approximate distance from one special orphanage to another special orphanage, and how far they each are from the capital. And how far they are from us. Just because of two very special kids.
But they are not the only kids.”
Reagan, waiting for a hug.
“I need to tell you that I had a rosy view of adoption for years - when it was a "someday we'll do that" kind of thing. And even when it went from a "someday we'll do that" kind of thing to a filling-out-paperwork-over-massive-amounts-of-sushi kind of thing, we still had a rosy view of it - kids need homes, yes, and we can provide that, yes, and it will be just like adding two more people to our family because they will be healthy and little, and there will be no "issues" to speak of...yes?”

“And we got to looking at the real situation, and the real situation intervened on our plans. The real situation is that many of the kids who most need to be adopted have serious issues - sometimes medical issues, sometimes development issues, sometimes issues that just come with living in an orphanage for years and not being let out of a crib for more than two hours a day. If you adopt internationally - or even domestically, in many cases - it is a very long wait for that ideal tiny baby that will grow perfectly with your family.”

”The real situation is that we could stay on a list for the next three years for something that is (maybe) a little easier. But in that three years, children will languish in cribs. They will wait. They will suffer. They will be hungry. And the space that we have in our home for two more children will be empty.”

There are as many as 163,000,000 orphans in the world – some estimates put it at over 200,000,000.   Behind each one of those numbers is a child. Shannon didn’t say that – I did (See my blog post, Accomplishing the Impossible) – but this is something that I know and that Shannon and Vince know.  200,000,000 children waiting for a hug, a home, safety… Love.

Shannon and Andrey

Overwhelming?  Here’s a bit of advice from Shannon…

What if you looked up a few of these issues? What if you became familiar with Down Syndrome, or Aspergers, or hydrocephaly? What if you picked one of those unpronounceable medical diagnoses and just wondered if it would be something you could handle in your home? What if you found a list of waiting children and requested the password to see their pictures, and you prayed over them? What if we all prayed them home?”

Vince and Reagan
What if we stepped up to help those who are adopting?  What if we skipped some snacks and fancy coffee and gave the money to someone who has a child waiting to come home?

What if we listened to God tugging at our hearts?

Why are Shannon and Vince adopting?  “…because His calling for us is greater than we know...but He knows what He's getting into. He still chose us. He still chose them. Only He can see where this is going.“

Shannon and Vince are adopting because they listened.


Watch the video!

Some ways to help only take a little time.

Visit Shannon’s original blog post.


Shannon’s current favorite Scripture is Psalm 34 - the whole shebang ;-)
Taste and see that the Lord is good!
How blessed is the one who takes shelter in him!
Psalm 34:8 NET

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Not quite Funtry Friday - Thank You!

It takes a little bit of energy to be 'bionic'!  I am, however, recovering well from my pacemaker surgery and looking forward to sharing my adventures this week - even though, for some reason, the calendar says Saturday and not Funtry Friday!

Of course, the highlight was a visit from my daughter and granddaughters who came to make sure I behaved myself.  We all managed to have some art fun, too.

Art time!

Aren't their paintings cute?!  They did way better than I did when I tried the blind contour drawing...

Blind contour drawings
Okay, granted - they were looking at their paper and I was not.  Still - it is really hard to tell that there are two rabbit drawings and one cat drawing...  I'll stick to doing the contour drawings with a bit of peaking now and then!

I did manage to take a walk earlier this week and I saw all these ravens sitting on this big chunk of whatever.  They were very busy being noisy!  You might want to hit the mute button...

Melodious Ravens

And, can anyone tell me why we have clouds like this -


and rain like this?


I am just going to say that it must be Arizona and the rains haven't quite arrived...

Thank you all for the prayers and well wishes this week!  I appreciate all the kind comments and encouragement, too!  Hope you all had a wonderful week and are enjoying your Funtry Friday Saturday.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Take out the trash!

Have you ever heard of someone who likes to take out the trash?  I haven’t.  However no one will argue that if you don’t take out the trash really bad things will happen.  

So, what’s so hard about taking out the trash?
  • It’s messy.
  • If you are cleaning, first you have to determine what is trash and what is not trash.
  • That can be mentally messy.
  • Or maybe the messy pile is just too messy to go through to determine what is trash.
  • Maybe playing would be more fun.
  • Or chocolate…

Please tell me that someone else out there has this problem once in a while.  I don’t want to feel completely alone!  Especially since I have a solution to share. 

Ready to Fly! - original ink and watercolor painting

In the Bible (which I like to share quotes from on Sunday) the very first three words are:  In the beginning…

Yes, that is the solution.  Everything has a beginning.  If you want to get something done, you have to start.  You can’t just think about starting.  Take me for instance.

I have been thinking about cleaning both my porch and my laundry room for quite a while.  If I had put my “beginning” cleaning before my busy little snake visit, I wouldn’t have been cleaning like crazy this week.  I was pretty amazed at how much stuff I tossed into recycling and trash bags, too.  I had just put it “out there” for “later” when “I had time” to do “it”.

It?  Take out the trash, drop off the recycling, and put away the rest of the “useful to me” items.

In the beginning… God took six days to create everything and an extra one to rest and enjoy His creation.  We can take a lesson from that, too. 

Begin doing something somewhere.  Then move to the next thing and finish that task.  And then take a rest. 

Whatever you do, don’t start with the rest – start with the beginning!

Now that I have a good beginning on my (little bit late) Spring cleaning, I am going to keep on going.

Have you thought about a project and keep putting it off?  Look for your beginning!


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

PS That cute little butterfly painting has a happy home with Shannon at Copperlight Wood.  Shannon and her husband Vince are giving a brand new beginning to two beautiful children.  Their adoption has been approved, but there are still expenses.  If you would like to know more about Shannon and her family and see these beautiful children, check out her Adoption: ways to help page!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Funtry (Wednesday, Thrusday and) Friday Insanity!

This week I had a surprise visitor.  If you want to see pictures, check out The snake needs a bell, because you won’t see any pictures of him here.  I was just a little too busy to stop and take any…

The first time the bull snake appeared, he made acquaintance with my cat.  She was uninterested and wandered away.
CAT - original ACEO ink drawing - 2.5" x 3.5"

Dogs are a different matter.  They also have that definite bark that says “NOW!”.  Wednesday evening, I heard THE bark.  This did not thrill me because I was in my jammies and slippers.  I rushed to the aid of what I thought would be a trapped bird, only to find the more than friendly Bull Snake on my porch.  This is an enclosed porch… with a dryer vent opening into my laundry room which is right off my kitchen.  Right...  I wrestled the dogs inside, grabbed my shovel, and tried to scoop up the snake and toss it away from my porch (and particularly the dryer vent).  It was not a pretty picture.  Snake was unhappy and hissing, and so was the crazy lady in the jammies and slippers with a shovel.  Snake made a hasty exit… under a cabinet.

And the sun set on a day with more excitement than I wanted.

Thursday morning, I got up, poked under the cabinet with the shovel.  Yay!    After a couple of hours of cleaning and sorting stuff, I lifted the top section of the cabinet and hauled it to the driveway.  Returning to the porch, I pulled the bottom part of the cabinet… much to my surprise, it hissed at me.  I can jump pretty far, pretty fast.

And I can also call my neighbor pretty fast.  She with my rake, and I with my shovel stood determined to remove this pesky critter. The cabinet was definitely in the way, so, while I kept the snake from heading to the dryer vent, she hauled the bottom part of the cabinet to the driveway.

By the way, did I ever tell you that my other neighbors behind me raise emus?  It’s pretty cool to hear them ‘thrumming’ in the morning.

Oh, yeah, the saga of the snake… All we had to do was to nudge him towards the door and, hopefully, off he would go.  There was just one catch.  I had put a box fan behind the door, so the door wasn’t flat against the wall.  Guess where the snake went?  Behind the door.  Behind the fan.  Then, into the fan.  First we both thought, “Oh, no…” Then Lorie said, “Wait – this might be a good thing!”  She picked up the box fan, snake and all and made a mad dash for the driveway.

We stood there and watched to see what would happen.  Nothing.  Snake in fan. Sitting there looking at us.  She headed home, and I grabbed the box fan.  I figured farther away from the house would be a good thing, so I headed to the field across the road.

Even though I wasn’t in my jammies and slippers, this was still not a pretty picture.  Here is a sweaty, dusty, dirty, just past middle aged woman, carrying a box fan with a snake in it.  Oh, and the wind is blowing which begins turning the fan.  Box fans are not designed with enough space for a four foot snake to curl up and still have the fan blades turn.  Add to the current scene… thump, thump, thump as the plastic fan blade turns and bumps the snake with each turn...  I pause at my gate to take the chain off, and six inches of snake makes an appearance.  I jiggle the fan, and the snake retreats inside it.  I head to the field where I lower the fan to the ground.  By this time the snake is grateful to escape the insanity.

I was watching the bull snake slither away, when a truck drove by.  I guess people are used to all kinds of things out here because the driver just waved at the crazy, dusty, dirty lady with a box fan staring at a vacant field.

I dashed across the road and went to fix the dryer vent and the door so there would be no more visitors.

In the midst of everything, we did have some lovely rain – enough even to make a few puddles!

reflection of the tree in a puddle on the porch rail

I was hoping this morning that there would not be a page three to the snake saga *rolls eyes* and I’m still not sure if I had a repeat visit or not because I never saw a snake today.  

As I went to make a better cover for the dryer vent, I stuck my hand in there and I could swear that I heard a hiss.  I discovered that I had a retractable arm.  I beat it to the laundry room and moved all the extra “stuff” out of there.  At one point, when I moved something on the dryer, I thought I heard that familiar hiss from behind the washer.  I continued working, and, by the time that I pulled both the washer and the dryer away from the wall, I didn’t hear anything.  I didn’t hear anything on the porch either.  *whew*

I figure that if there was another bull snake in the dryer hose, it decided to leave and was able to get out under the door on the porch.  Now, both the door space and the dryer vent are *hopefully* completely blocked.  I have a clean porch and a clean laundry room.  Oh, and I do have a couple of Handy Dandy Port-a-snake Box Fans within arm’s reach!
Handy Dandy Port-a-snake Box Fan
Actually, Thursday we used a different one.
Friday I had this one ready if needed in the laundry room!

Well, I hope you had more fun and less insanity in your neck of the woods!  Happy Funtry Friday!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Save time with a Grid Sleeve!

Learning an easier way to do something is almost as much fun as exploring new art materials.  Recently, I got a great hint when I took a colored pencil workshop from Karel Armstrong at The Art Store.  Karel also teaches a mixed media and collage class there. 

During the colored pencil workshop, Karel took quite a bit of time to show us a few simple ways to transfer original sketches to the final drawing paper.  While transferring a drawing with a grid is not something new to me (see my blog post: Revisiting my little lambkin), she did have a neat and simple hint that I want to pass on to you.

Okay - grab yourself one of those plastic sleeves that you can get at almost any office supply, locate a fine point sharpie, and round up a good ruler.

Simple Grid Sleeve
What you are going to do is create your grid on the plastic sleeve.  Now you can preserve your original drawing or photograph and you will save a ton of time because you don't have to draw grid lines on any future originals.

Measure your grid lines very carefully so that your drawing will be transferred accurately.

Completed Grid Sleeve

Once you have all of the lines drawn in both directions, number the spaces on the long side and put a letter in the spaces on the short side.  If you have a very large and/or complex drawing, this will help you locate the squares faster while you are drawing.

Draw very light grid lines on your drawing paper, being sure to draw them carefully and accurately, also.

beginning the drawing

Now it is just a matter of matching the square on the grid sleeve with the square on your paper and drawing what you see there.  You may find it helpful to put the letters and numbers on your drawing paper grid lines too.

Before you know it, you will have your drawing all ready to go.

Be sure that you don't draw dark grid lines on your drawing paper.  The light ones I drew were easy to cover up with the colored pencil and they were easy to erase, too.  If you are working with watercolor, you may want to remove your grid lines before you begin painting.

The hardest part of this method is to decide how big you want your drawing to be.  Math.  Dad always said I would need it and he was right!  Basically, if you want your drawing to be twice as big as your original reference material, draw a 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) grid on your sleeve and a 1 inch (2.6 cm) grid on your drawing paper.

With how simple these grid sleeves are to make, you could make several sizes and have them all ready to go for future projects.  If you work larger than letter size, this same method can be used on clear acetate which can be bought on the roll or in large sheets.  Or, you could reduce your very large original to letter size and create a grid sleeve with smaller spaces.

This method can also be used in reverse to make your finished artwork smaller than your original sketch.  When you draw the grid on your final paper, make it smaller than the grid on your grid sleeve.

It's fun to find a hint that makes things simpler - especially when it saves time, too!  Have you found a time saving hint recently? 

Happy creating!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Joy is a choice.

Surprisingly my dictionary doesn’t define joy very differently than it defines happy.  May I write my own dictionary entries for just a few minutes? 

When I think of happiness, I think of it as a joy filled emotion.  When I think of joy, I think of it as a deep seated way of looking at things.  Emotions can change quickly.  If you have any doubt about that, watch a two year old.  Or frown at the police officer if you get pulled over.  

Happy is on the face.  Joy is in the heart.  At least, that’s the way my dictionary would define those words.

While happiness is pleasant for a moment, joy is worth cultivating for a lifetime.

I admit it - this is Bethie at sunset and not at sunrise!

Joy lets a sunrise make me happy even when I still want to be sleeping.

I believe that joy can also keep us from ‘abundant worry’.   Have you ever seen an aggressive abundant worrier?  Someone who enjoys the frantic state of frazzled nerves?  I’m pretty sure I couldn’t live there. 

I have received some pretty good advice that has kept me away from the Country of Worry:
Worry never gets anyone anywhere, so keep joy in your heart as you focus on what you can do, and exercise the power of positive thinking.

Yep.  The advice is that simple.

Who gave me that advice? 


He has a pretty good view of things from where He sits. I think I’ll keep taking His advice.


Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.
Philipians 4:6-8 NET

Friday, July 6, 2012

Itty bitty baby Funtry Friday

Open your eyes, look really close, and you will find some little itty bitty bits of Funtry Friday fun today!

These little guys are all over the place this year!

little lizard

Well, it kind of goes with Summer... these itty bitty guys are all over the place, too...

tiny mouse running for cover
This little baby visitor has been lots of fun to watch!

awwww!  cute baby bunny

I have to say that I am happier to have this resident under the shed than the skunk I had before...

yep - a new resident under the shed

This baby?  *sigh* It was bound to happen...  and I am sure there will be more...

baby tumbleweed
Yep, there is the new crop and they are green and growing.  Lurking behind this one is the rest of the family, dry and ready to roll - or fly

Maybe if we all went back to beginning of time there would be a way to halt the tumbleweed takeover...  Wait!  I know where the beginning is!  See - right there!!!

In the beginning...

Well, this "beginning" is the beginning of a very cool timeline at the Prescott Public Library.  The rest of the timeline goes way out there and up those stairs.

more of the beginning and some of the middle

Pretty cool, huh.  It is actually done to scale, too.  Well, except for the guess of how far the Egyptians were from The Beginning.

Well, I had better go round up all the critters and feed them so we can all take the middle of this day and move it towards the end.  Hope you all had a very Funtry Friday!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day - Happy 4th of July!

Whether you celebrate Independence Day with fireworks or a bar-b-que, take a moment to remember those who protect our freedom. Say a prayer for them, thank them, remember them - and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice that we might enjoy this peace filled day.

Independence Day: a civil holiday for the celebration of the anniversary of the beginnings of national independence; specifically: July 4 observed as a legal holiday in the United States in commemoration of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. 

The use of military fireworks in elaborate celebrations of war and peace is an ancient Chinese custom, but our term for the making and launching of fireworks is a product of the 17th and 18th centuries. "Pyrotechnics" and the earlier adjective "pyrotechnic" derive via French from the Greek nouns "pyr" ("fire") and "techne" ("art"). In "pyr" one can see such fiery relatives as "pyromania," the term for an irresistible impulse to start fires, as well as "pyrite," the mineral also known as fool's gold, which once referred to a stone used for striking fire. Like "fireworks," "pyrotechnics" also has an extended figurative usage, referring to any kind of dazzling display or performance.


I spent the day in the studio - painting fireworks. It was lots of fun since I recently learned several great hints that make using masking fluid much easier.
  • Use a synthetic brush that you have dedicated to Masking Fluid usage because it will destroy your good watercolor brushes. 
  • Have a small jar of water with a little bit of dish soap in it.  Dip your brush in this before you use the masking fluid and rinse it often in this while you are working.  If you stop for a short time, put your brush in this water until you resume working. 
  • Wash your brush out immediately when you are through applying the masking fluid.
  • Stirring your masking fluid instead of shaking it will stop all of the splashy bubbles from happening.  Duh.
  • Use a rubber cement pickup to remove the masking fluid.  It works like an eraser to pick up all of the little bits of masking fluid.  I had painted lots of fine lines and little dots and it worked great to get all of the masking fluid removed.
I liked using this method better than what I did before

3 paintings with masking fluid on them + 1 Rubber Cement Pickup = Easy Clean Up!

watercolor paintings with the masking fluid removed

After I removed the masking fluid, I added a little *fireworks color* to one of the paintings.

Fireworks - original watercolor work in progress

Now that I find the Art Masking Fluid easier to work with, I have been having a bit of fun with it and doing a little more experimenting.

I had reserved some white highlights with the masking fluid before I started painting.  Now, I have reserved some mid tones, too, by painting the masking fluid over areas that I have already painted.  I will continue to do this as I develop the character of the rough wood. 

I learned a few other tips, too:
  • Don't put masking fluid on wet paper because, when everything dries, it will tear the paper when you remove it.
  • Leave your masking fluid on the paper until you have finished the painting or are ready to paint the masked area.  That way you won't have to reapply it should you change your mind.
  • You can leave your masking fluid on for a while, but there is a point at which it will adhere itself permanently to the paper.  Note to self:  Don't put these paintings away and forget about them...
Well, that's what I did to celebrate my quiet July 4th.  What did you do?


Remembering gratefully my family members who have served to protect this country and our freedoms...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

An odd egg and I

What do an odd egg and I have in common?

I wonder if chickens in the egg farms are allowed to lay the occasional interesting egg.  Since I have my own chickens, I am used to seeing white, brown, green, small, large, speckled, plain, bumpy, and occasionally shell-less eggs.  I know that chickens don’t lay all the same size and color eggs. 

An Odd Little Egg

That odd shaped little egg on top will taste just as delightfully eggy as the others, will be fine in any recipes, and, in fact, the only difference is its odd little shell.  What would happen if “store bought” eggs all of a sudden looked like these?  Would some of them get tossed in the trash because the shell is different?

People look different, too.  When you meet someone, do you look them over and take mental notes?  I do.  I’m wondering whether this person will be my friend or be too “different”.  I think it’s a natural thing to do, but there is a point where it should stop.  If I rule out a conversation because Parkinson’s halts the speech, I could miss wisdom.  Wanda Zohlman:  “Paint every day!”  If I rule out a wheelchair, I could miss inspiration:  Joni Eareckson Tada.  Vincent van Gogh had his quirks, too.  Should we not look at his artwork because of his mental illness? 

Illness and disability can color our view of people and rob us of wonderful relationships.  Be brave – cancer isn’t contagious, paralysis isn’t catching, Parkinson’s, depressions, heart disease…

You see, the face of disability might not be what you expect.  
Yes.  I am disabled and I have mounds of paperwork to prove it.

In 1999 I learned how to live a “new normal” called congestive heart failure.  Now, as I prepare to get my third pacemaker, I cannot say that it is an “old normal” because I am still constantly aware of my cardiomyopathy.  I have, however, learned to see the loving Hand of God in my circumstances.  I can also say that I have learned to “take inventory” of others a little differently.  Conversations that I used to avoid aren’t quite so scary anymore because I see a (disabled) Person, not a Disability. 

While everyone may not have the words of wisdom of Wanda, be nearly as inspiring as Joni, or create artwork as famous as Vincent, try to look past the (disability) to find something interesting when you “take inventory” of someone.  You might be very surprised!


For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord.  
‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you.
I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 NET
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