“Garden Party”

16x20 oil on hard board
16×20 oil on hard board

“Garden Party” is composed of my favorite subjects, birds and flowers. Who doesn’t love that! Well maybe I am a bit predacious.. Roses, for me, is a real challenge. Getting them to look realistic without looking stiff. I am always trying to capture the essence of the flower. Each time I paint them I feel I have learned a bit more than the last time I tried, so I am always anxious to start another one in anticipation of improving.

In this painting I was trying to capture the feeling of distance in a rose garden without actually showing a distance plane. As I worked on the painting I began to get bored with all the flowers and foliage so I decided it needed some life. I knew I wanted birds but didn’t know exactly how I wanted to incorporate them into the flower garden. My first thought was a bird bath but after laying it out in my mind I decided that would be too large for the scale of the flowers, so settled on a pot with bird seeds and a group of blue birds enjoying their meal in the shelter of the rose garden, and of course every garden has to have a few ants.

“EVENING FALL’S A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY “

In memory of my son Rob
In memory of my son Rob……

Evening Fall’s a Spiritual Journey, is a painting for my son Rob, who recently died of cancer. I wanted do a painting that represented his spiritual beliefs but didn’t know exactly what subject would be most appropriate.

After his passing his ex-wife and a close friend saw an owl and at the same time a shooting star fell to earth. Both thought how appropriate it was because they were both thinking of Rob when it happened on the same night of Sept. 12th.  The ironic thing is, one lives in South Carolina and the other lives 2000 miles away in Colorado. Neither knew what the other had experienced till they shared their experience with each other at a later date.  Their experience gave me the inspiration for his painting.  I remembered Rob often commented on the owls he saw and the spiritual connection he felt to them.  At that point, I realized, he had sent me a message letting me know exactly what he wanted me to paint!  I began my search on Pinterest, one of my favorite social medium sites,  and soon came across a beautiful piece of artwork by a very talented photographer/artist by the name of Angie, who specializes in Celtic scenes.  It was a perfect representation for his painting.  I wanted to ask permission to use her artwork as inspiration for Rob’s painting so I got busy and sent her an email.  The following is her very gracious reply.

“Hello Barbara,

Thank you for your email and for taking the time to ask permission to use my Artwork for your painting. I am very sorry for your loss and I would be honoured for you to use my work as your inspiration. I have always had a deep spiritual connection with Owls myself and ‘Evening Falls’ is my personal favourite out of all the works I have created so far.

The inspiration behind the image was the song and video by Enya of the same name (Evening Falls)and is about memories and returning home – not necessarily in this life but may be another life or even the other side of this life. It has an other worldly feel to the song and that is what I wanted to capture in the picture – A feeling that the veil between this world and the next is thin and we can connect with those on the other side in our dreams.

The owl was photographed at a Medieval Fair in England and the Window is from a country church in Worcestershire, England. The background and the castle in the mist is Kilchurn Castle on the shores of Loch Awe , Highlands of Scotland.

My Birthday is September 11th – so the shooting star may well have been on my Birthday taking in to account the time difference between the UK and the USA. I like coincidences like that – in fact I don’t believe in coincidences, only messages from the Spirit world.

Please let me see the painting when it is finished. I would like to see it. I hope you feel connected to your Son as you paint it – as I am sure he will not be far from you.
Brightest Blessings to you and your Son looking over you.
Angie Latham
www.celticmystery.co.uk”

Used this for my inspiration.
If you would like to see more of Angie’s  artwork go to her web page at: www.celticmystery.co.uk

One last thing I would like to relate to you before I end this rather long post. I don’t believe in coincidence’s either.  Evening Falls, as you have read in Angie’s email the title of a song by Enya, which was Rob’s favorite artist.  He would listen to her song “Evening Falls” most nights as he went to sleep.  Coincidence or not?? Also, I was talking to my sister on the phone last night and I was explaining to her how I had decided on the subject for Rob’s painting and, quite unexpectedly,  a long multi-colored bar of vibrating light appeared at the bottom of my iPad screen, one I had never seen before, and a bell began to ring?? I was confused as to what kind of message I was getting.  My sister asked what the noise was and I said I don’t know maybe a private message coming in for me but when I went to check I had no new messages from anyone.  I just laughed and said “I guess Rob is letting me know he approve’s……..

 

 

Granny’s House

Hollyhocks and chickens, what could be better than that!
Hollyhocks and chickens, what could be better than that!

“Granny’s House” is a painting that was conceived from a special place in my heart. Let me start off by saying I have very fond memories of that summer I spent with my Granny and Pa in the Texas hill country. It was a time I will never forget. Every night as I drifted off to sleep, from my bed by the window, I would watch the  shadows creeping across the moonlit landscape and the smell of fresh country air in the cool breeze. My Granny and Pa were very stoic and regimented people. Every day they had chores to do, which I helped with, gathering the eggs, washing clothes on a wringer washing machine and of course hanging them out on a clothes line to dry in the summer sun. One day we picked cucumbers and canned pickles all day. It wasn’t work to me, I was so happy just to have time with my grandparents whom I didn’t see but once a year.  My Pa was a quite man who never said much, so one day when he ask me if I wanted to see a dead man I said of course I did! He smiled at my curiosity and I wondered why he had that mischievous look on his face, one I may add I had never seen before. I remember asking him about the dead man and he said we had to get a shovel and some picks so we could dig him up. I had a lot of questions about who he was and why we had to dig him up, but Pa just smiled and said I would understand when we got him dug up. Pa wasn’t given to much conversation as a rule, so I knew when he wouldn’t answer my questions I wasn’t going to get the answer till he wanted me to. When we got to the spot where the dead man was buried Pa started digging, he dug for a while and then let me dig a little.   The digging was hard and the  only time we stopped  was to drink some water.  The dead man was buried really deep and I thought we would never get him dug up.  Finally Pa said he had hit something, I thought, it must be the dead man. I was so scared to look in the hole but Pa said it was alright. As I peered over into the hole all I could see was a big rock! I ask Pa, was the dead man under the rock? I must have had a really concerned look on my face cause Pa just broke out laughing.  He then let me in on the big joke, the rock was the dead man, he went on to explain, which was a term the ranchers gave to a big rock they buried that was used to keep a long run of fencing from sagging. I have to say I was a little disappointed when I saw that rock but I had never seen  Pa laugh so hard.

Granny wasn’t a very good cook but she always had molasses cookies in the old cookie jar. Every afternoon I would have a cookie, or two, if I could slip one by Granny while we watered the flowers and grass. She had a beautiful yard with cool thick carpet grass which I enjoyed walking on barefoot.  It was one of the few places where there were no grass-burs.  Some of my favorite flowers was her hollyhocks,larkspur and zinnias. There was a huge trumpet vine that covered one end of the porch that protected it from the evening sun, it was in full bloom and the bees seemed to enjoy the flowers as much as I did. We kept a fly swatter in hand to take care of a roaming bee or an occasional fly while we enjoyed our afternoon cookie break. After we ate an early supper, which usually consisted of some kind of fried meat, potatoes, cream gravy, fresh vegetable of the day and always cornbread, we would go out side and set up the card table in the yard.   Pa would get a water-melon, fresh picked out of the garden and Granny would cut it into slices,  then  we would eat water-melon and play dominos till dark. Pa wasn’t much on games so he would sit his chair in the yard with his rife laying across his lap ready to shoot an unsuspecting deer that might wonder by.  Deer meat was one of their main sources of meat so Pa was always looking to get another deer for the freezer.

This painting has brought back precious memories of my childhood, when life was simple and wonderous. I hope you enjoyed my post on “Granny’s House”, my wish is, it will take you back to a place in your memory that was special to you as well.

Till next time, may you make special memories and share them for all to enjoy…Blessings to you all…Barbie

Angel of the Morning

8x8 oil on mixed media paper for use in my fabric art journal
8×8 oil on mixed media paper for use in my fabric art journal

“Angel of the Morning” a study in oils. I love angels as I’m sure a lot of people do. If you have been keeping up with my post you will know I am painting like crazy trying to get enough small art for my Fabric Art Journal I am making. Just about have enough ready to go. Now comes the hardest part for me, putting each page together using vintage lace and linens. That is a whole different art form and requires a lot of thought, for me at least. I have decided to use the copic stitch to bind it but haven’t decided what I want to use for the cover art. May choose one of my pieces I have already done or not… At any rate won’t know till I start putting the pages together so I will let that decision wait for a later post. I did not think, when I started painting pieces for this journal, about how I would incorporate each page or of the medium I would use, and how each one would work on fabric. I love the pastels but they presented a problem due to the nature of chalk so I had to come up with a method to seal the chalk so it wouldn’t come off on the fabric page. I described that method on the bluebird post, so if you would like more info on that process check out the bluebird post.