Monday, May 21, 2018

Pain in the Park

It was another busy weekend. I sent Toby off to visit his mom by himself on Saturday, while I went to the Paint in the Park that was sponsored by the CTAC.  It was a fun event and a good exercise in plein air painting. The turnout was not so great, although it was advertised greatly.  I think it is a busy time with graduation and weddings and such.  In Oklahoma if the weather is nice, people are out working in their yards and gardens and doing things that need to be done.  Soon the weather will be too hot to do anything.  Too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy, too dry, etc. any excuse to not do what needs doing!

The Paint in the Park was a contest – two hours to paint something in the park and to be judged by one person with prize money to be handed out. 
Here is my painting.  Now that I have my painting home and have had time to look it, I can see things that need to be worked on.  My painting was the only finished painting – most paintings were not nearly as finished as mine – I am speedy if nothing else. In fact, the painting that won 1st place had a long way to go to being finished and was very vague in areas, although it did have potential.  The 3rd place painting was better than the 1st place – so goes it with judging.  You never know what influences the judge or what the judge will like and dislike.  It is probably best if the judge shows up just in time to judge. In this case, the judge was there at the beginning and walked around visiting and meeting the artist and chatting it up.  Now the judge knows whose painting is whose. So much for not being influenced.  Anyway, here are the paintings that won – from left to right – honorable mention, 3rd, 2nd, 1st place.  You can be the judge now.

After the Paint in the Park, I made a trip to WalMart and then home to start preparing for Bo and family to come over after church on Sunday for a big birthday bash.  We celebrated GBN4 who turned 3 years old a couple of weeks ago along with his mom whose birthday was last week.  Toby cooked a big brisket.  We had cole slaw, potato salad, beans, pico de gallo, quacamole, and a pound cake.  Toby and I spent most of the afternoon and evening preparing food and the house for the get-together.  On Sunday the kids showed up like small whirlwinds.  They devoured the food in record time, and then went out to play in the $10 pool I had bought. They also brought their water guns. It was wild times at the Lazy B!

The kids all left by 5 PM – they were worn out and fussy.  Toby and I were worn out too. We took naps. That is one of the best things about being a grandparent – sending kids home with their parents and being able to rest up after the storm.      

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Everythings Going My Way

As the days get longer and the weather grows warmer it seems that life gets busier. Last week the little girl’s art class canceled due to everyone being too busy to come. The week before it was the big girl’s class that canceled. I enjoy my time with my girl’s art classes, but they take a lot of thinking, planning, creating, and maybe I get tired of thinking about art for other people. Summer break is good. Less time for others may mean more time for myself.

The old ladies have been slacking off too, except for Robin Egg. Not that I mind. I love my one on one time with Robin Egg – she is an easy keeper.  I’ve also had more time for my art.  Right now, I’m feeling pretty good about my art. I’ve been throwing pots in the mornings and doing some painting in the afternoons.  I’ve also been reading The Outlander series, which I love and could consume me, but hasn’t.  Okie t-shirts that said, “Everything’s going my way.” Of course, it had swirling wind images – which has been the way of things this spring.  For the last few days, the wind has died down a bit, but still whipping everything in sight.

My ceramic class finished up on Monday.  Although I would like to continue taking the class during the summer, I’m not sure that is what I need to do at this point.  I’ve really enjoyed my Mondays in WF with Jesse and the class.  It has been both structured and unstructured time for me – Vital needs.  Could that be the explanation for my well-being? Maybe. Partly.  My spiritual needs are being met as well as my people time needs. Creativity is another vital need. So I guess those things are important now that I lay them out and look them over. 

With the good weather comes outdoor activities.  The Chisholm Trail Arts Council is having a Paint-out in the Park on the 19th.  I will participate as well as help with that.  This weekend there is the Arts for All in Lawton, which is a big art thang in the park. I love going to things like that.  In June, the CTAC will have an Art Walk similar to the Arts for All, but on a much smaller scale. I did this art show a few years ago – it was dang hot! I will probably do it again – even in the heat.  Also, I have been asked to show my art at Viridian Coffee the month of June.  Lots to get ready for.

And then there is the usual yard stuff that happens when the weather is good.  We have already mowed several times. Toby is doing a smaller garden this year or at least it is smaller so far. He could get carried away with it later. I need to work on my flowerbeds, but I am procrastinating. I still have last year’s dead flowers out there. Yard work is not my thang – obviously.

Life is good. Art is going well. I sold a painting last night. Weather is nice. Who can complain?

Monday, April 30, 2018

Cows and Cups

Wow! Did April go by fast or what?  Tonight is my last night at ceramics.  Actually, next week is the last class, but we will not be able to do anything other than pick up our stuff.  I'm thinking about signing up for the class during the summer, although I don't think Toby likes the idea.  He is all about saving money these days, since Halliburton is laying him off in December.  I'm of the mind that  I should go ahead and spend a bit of money while I have it :) It's just that during the summer, the barn is too hot to work in unless you get up at the crack of dawn or stay up until the sun sets to go throw pots in the barn.  We have a plan to build a room in the barn so that we can have a nice place to work - no matter the weather.  But until that room is built, I'd kind of like to have a nice place to work - like a real studio with all the clay stuff you could want or need. I've enjoyed my days in WF at the ceramic studio and spending the night with Jesse. We will see how it all works out.

When Jesse went to the big ceramic convention a few weeks back, she bought me some watercolor glazes. That's right! I can combine my watercolor with my ceramics!  Here is how the first few pieces of pottery with watercolor glaze turned out.
I have done a few more, but they have not been fired. At some point, I will take a snapshot of all my pots from the ceramic class, although they are not that impressive.

Although I am loving the mud, I seem to have this deep need to do pastels.  I've been working on finding a place to set up my pastels - rather than having to constantly get them out and put them up again.  I sort of have them out, but it is not to my liking.  I need to have them at the ready so that I can keep the creative juices flowing. Ha! I've been taking some "homestead" type photos to paint. And I have started one painting. In the meantime I did some cow paintings.  Here is a pastel of some Brahma cows.
Here are the same cows done in acrylic. Both cow paintings need some touch-up. I'll get to that someday. 

We had a breakfast here at the house for the seniors at our church, or what we call the empty-nesters.  About 20 people showed up Saturday morning for breakfast. It was a perfect day with sun and no wind. We were able to sit outside. For a bit of entertainment, Frank did a demo and talk, throwing a pot on the wheel. It went well. After cleaning on my house for days before the breakfast, then preparing the food and stuff, I was a tired puppy when it was over. We still went to WF to see Toby's mom. She is doing pretty darn good for an 88 year old who has had lots of falls and illness. We took her outside to enjoy the warm spring day.

Sunday was spent resting and catching up on laundry. Who'd a thought I would enjoy laundry, but after deep cleaning house all week, laundry was welcome.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Wedding And a Funeral

Thursday night I attended an artist reception at the Chisholm Trail Arts Council. There were two artists showing their work. One was a photographer and the other was a pastel artist.  You can figure out which one I was more interested in. The pastel artist was excellent. Kim Rowgow is new to pastels and learning at the Cedar Cove art studio in Duncan.  I thought she was awesome. The photographer, Margaret Schick was good, I am sure, but I'm just not that into photography. Don't get me wrong. I like looking at beautiful photos. I tend to look at them and think, "How would that work as a painting?" I rarely think, "I'd like to buy that and put it on my wall."  I think I may have a serious bias towards photography as art.  This lady had some beautiful photos - jillions of them, but they were not "artsy". They were well done, but nothing that I could not have done myself - not anything different or new or interesting.  I have seen photographers who do really amazing photos - things well thought out. They try new and different things - now those are art. Maybe I should strive more in my own art to do work that is unique and different and not just the same old stuff every other artist can do.

We attended a funeral and a wedding on Saturday.  The funeral or visitation was for an old friend whom I had not kept up with very well. Fritz was my age and we had grown up together. Our dads had been childhood friends, too.  In the last ten years, I had not kept up with his family or him. My mom had kept up with his mom until the dementia thing.  I kind of hate that I had not checked up on Fritz, but such is life. I will remember him as an easy-going guy whose laugh was sincere. I will remember him cocking his head to the side and speaking in that slow West Texas accent calling me Loulou. His life was a bit of a mess, but he always had time for me and made me feel loved.

The wedding was for one of my past art girls. Katie is an excellent artist. She will continue to do art, because it is in her to do so.  The wedding was beautiful, because Katie is beautiful.  They had a dessert reception, which was nice and then went to a wedding supper and dance for close family and friends.  I like it that they started with dessert first.

Last night was ceramics. I threw a couple of pots and did a bunch of glaze work on other pots.  I have been taking clay home with me and throwing pots out in the barn while the weather is nice. The wind has been howling, but the temps have not been so bad. Working in the barn is iffy - weather permitting.  Soon it will get too hot. Winter is too cold. I guess I am a fair weather potter.  Class will be over soon and I need to finish up what I have started.  Maybe I will continue to take the class this summer.  Alberto, our teacher, will be moving on and a new teacher will be coming. Last night I visited with Steve, the ceramics professor, and asked him how his hunt for a new resident artist was going.  He said he had 40 applicants to weed through and interview.  I asked him it was difficult to lure artist to come to Wichita Falls in the summer.  "Do you tell them that it gets hot here - so hot that you don't need a kiln - you can just set the pots outside?"

This morning I'm going to the local coffee shop, Frank and Joes's, to meet up with an old friend.  I thought I would see her more while I am coming for ceramics, but I have not really seen her much. She has a life too - imagine that!  Keeping up with old friends and new ones too, is something that has to be worked at. It is not that I mind seeing them - that is not the work. The work is in making myself make time and getter done.  My dad was always good at making time for friends.  In fact, when my brother called last week to say that Fritz had died, we both debated on going to the funeral. We both had busy weekends and didn't really want to have one more thing added to our day.  But then Pete said, "It's like I hear Dad from another dimension saying, 'Go! It is Doug's son!' And Dad would have gone for his old friend. So Pete and I went. And I am glad I did. It was good to see Fritz' mom. In her slow West Texas drawl she said, "Well, Loulou and Petey..."

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Dressing in Layers

With the cold front that hit last weekend, I was reminded of a funny thang that happened years ago while visiting Washington DC. 

It was cold enough on Saturday to dress in layers - like winter again.  I really don't mind the cold - I just don't want to deal with ice or snow.  We didn't have either of those, but it was pretty cold.  As with the normal Texoma weather, you never know how the day will really go. It may start off below freezing, but warm up enough for a t-shirt. It is really tough when it starts out with t-shirt weather and then goes to below freezing. Adding clothes is more difficult than peeling off layers.

So on Saturday I dressed in layers thinking that I could peel as the day went or leave on the layers if nothing changed.  I wore my lumberjack/mechanic pants that my sister gave me this past winter.  They are actually Eddie Bauer lined pants.  The lining is red plaid. When you roll up the pant cuffs, the red plaid shows - hence the lumberjack look.  The pants themselves are a grey - not a pretty grey - but a mechanic grey. You know - those grey shirts or overalls men wear when they are have greasy jobs. So, I had on my grey pants, and I wore a long sleeve t-shirt with a warm vest over it.  It reminded me of a trip to Washington DC years ago in November when it was just pretty darn cold there.  Jesse and I had gone to DC for my uncle's Vietnam veteran's reunion. While in DC, we wanted to see everything we could see, but it was cold. So, we dressed warm - in layers.

Now we girls have certain secrets to dressing (and undressing - like taking off your bra without taking off your shirt).  One of my dressing secrets is to tuck my undershirt into my underpants.  It keeps your pants looking smoother, plus it keeps your undershirt in place especially when pulling on your pants.  It also keeps your undershirt from getting tangled in your overshirt.  Maybe I learned this from wearing those 70's body shirts that snapped at the crotch and looked neatly tucked into my hip-hugging bell-bottoms.  Or maybe I learned it from years of wearing ski clothes when there were so many layers to deal with.

So there we were in DC seeing the sites - dressed warmly.  We were in one of the Congress buildings where you can go visit your congressman, but more importantly you can eat in their cafeteria for less money than eating anywhere else in DC.  We had had a nice lunch and were wondering around the upper floors where our congressmen work, when I spotted a restroom. Never pass up a chance to use a nice bathroom when out sightseeing.  Jesse and my cousins were waiting in the hall while I went to the restroom. Here is where my dressing secrets come into play.  Before I pull up my pants, I fold my top sweater up and over my chest to keep it from getting tangled in the under things.  This lets me tuck my undershirt into my underwear and then pull up my pants over the whole shebang. This is really great when skiing and wearing a long underwear shirt, a warm shirt, and then a sweater - maybe even a jacket over it all - so many pieces of clothing to get tangled in!  And if you fall in the snow, there is a good chance you could get snow up your coat - in your shirt, on your back, and down your pants. But with your undershirt tucked into your underwear, snow will not get in those places.  FYI.  Back to DC. So I had done the whole fold up my top layer over my chest thang, and done all the tucking in. I came out of stall to see a woman washing her hands at the sink.  She looked very professional and business-like. I waited for her to finish up before crowding up to the sink. When she turned to see me, she did one of those "look me over" things and then let out a little noise like a harrumph or a snort. I think she even said, "Interesting!"  Then she exited the restroom.  I thought, "What the hey was that about?"  Then I saw myself in the mirror. My top sweater was still folded up over my boobs exposing my undershirt tucked neatly into my pants.  Then I let out a snort myself.

Of course, I left my sweater folded up like that while I went out into the hall to show Jesse and the cousins my silly self and tell them about the business lady snorting at me.  I thought it was all very funny. On the other hand, what kind of woman sees another woman in the restroom making a serious error - like your pantyhose tucked into your panties and your butt showing, or toilet paper stuck to your foot - and not say anything?  When I see another woman with her buttons done up wrong or her collar turned under or some such dressing error, I speak out. It is the woman thang to do. I guess in DC the women don't have that sort of camaraderie.

Now when I do the fold and tuck layering, I think of that DC trip. I am much better at remembering to pull the outer layer neatly over the underlayers and make sure nothing is tucked or put where it is not suppose to be.  It was cold enough last Saturday that I had a whole day of tucking and checking and remembering that DC trip.