Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Invasion of the Spider Lilies 2009

Oak Tree on a Foggy Morning WORK IN PROGRESS

After a couple of weeks of hot, steamy thunderstorms, then a day or two of hot, sticky summery days, we woke up yesterday to a deliciously cool fall morning ... and today’s weather is downright perfect!

One sure sign of fall is the spider lilies popping up everywhere. And I do mean popping ... they spring up so fast, I think I could probably take a lawn chair and a cup of hot tea out in the yard and sit and watch them growing. Seriously, while I was out taking these pictures, I was sure I turned around one time and there were a few more than there were before.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A painting in progress ...

Oak Tree on a Foggy Morning WORK IN PROGRESS

When I opened the door this morning to take Trixie for an early morning walk, we stepped out into a deliciously foggy morning. While I was taking a few photos of one of the oak trees out front, I was inspired to start this painting. I hate to stop, but I have to go fix dinner ...

Later, taters!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Learn to be still ...

Morning Light by Karen Mathison Schmidt
16 x 20 • acrylic on cradled Gessobord

I’ve been working on a painting which is a surprise gift for someone who may or may not see this blog, so I can’t post it yet. But here’s one I finished in January for Acrylic Secrets. My step by step process for this painting is in the book.

From May of last year until about, um, November or so, on any given weekday we had various combinations of carpenters, roofers, electricians, plumbers, window installers and painters at our house starting at 7:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, sometimes Saturdays and holidays.


And that was only for the exterior. And the places inside where there was water damage from a leaky roof.

One morning right after we had the new windows put in I was passing the doorway of this room upstairs where I had arranged a little place for my morning prayer and Bible reading, and I was struck by the beauty of the light streaming in, and how it was dancing around all the objects and spreading all across the floor in those interesting negative-space shapes. I had been searching and searching for a subject for my "interior/still life" project for the book, and here it was, a little oasis of stillness in the midst of all the renovation mess and chaos.

Whenever I look at this picture (which is now down in my parlor) it makes me think of how, as I strive to walk with Him daily, God gives me His peace, even in the midst of uncertainty and stress. A peace which truly “surpasses all comprehension.” What a precious gift!
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 4:3-7

Saturday, September 5, 2009

News from Dogville

This week I’ve been super busy with housekeeping stuff. Cleaning and organizing in my studio/office, filing, working on getting my Cafe Press store ready for opening, etc. Fun for me, but not really interesting for blogging.

I have gotten a few questions about my last post, though. Who’s that big white dog? Isn’t he new? Is he part of the family or just visiting?

It made me realize it’s time for a canine update. I can’t believe how fast this summer has flown by – it reminds me of Mary Engelbreit’s illustration Time Flies Whether You’re Having Fun or Not – and there have been a few changes.

Back at the beginning of June we had to say good-bye to good ol’ Henry.
It was a sad time. Even though he’d only been part of our family for the last 2-1/2 years of his life, he was a BIG part of it. He had a huge personality footprint, and we miss him.

He was already pretty old when he came to us, so he had a long dog life, and let me tell you he had a great retirement out here in the country.

A few weeks later, Andy joined our family. Big and shaggy and mostly white with some gray, with a face like a bear. He had come to our neighbors down the road as a stray, and they had been feeding and brushing him regularly, but when Andy discovered our fun pack o’ hounds one day on his wanderings, he kept coming down here on his own for play dates. So I would let him in the back yard for a while to play, then I would drive him back home. After a few weeks it got to where we were driving him home 2 or 3 times a day.

Finally Andy’s family suggested that, even though they loved Andy (he’s such a great dog!), if we wanted to take him in, they wouldn’t mind. They already have two other dogs, one of whom is Ryan, and they really don't have a whole lot of room to keep another huge dog inside the house.

So Andy rolled up his sleeping bag, packed his toothbrush and came to live with us.

My idea was that he would join us as one of our outside dogs.
Silly me. Andy’s idea was that he would be an inside-outside dog like Trixie.

When we took him to the vet to have him checked out, we gave permission for him to be shaved so he would be more comfortable in the summer heat, and so they could get all the ticks off (over 100!). When he came home he was all shaved except for his head and he looked pretty funny.
Now his hair is growing back and he looks beautiful. According to the vet, he’s pretty young, just out of puppyhood. We had a blood test done to find out what breed he is, and as it turns out he’s a Great Pyrenees/Rottweiler mix.

We looked up the breeds on the Dog Breed Info Center and from what we’ve seen so far, Andy displays mostly the physical and personality characteristics of the Great Pyrenees. A guardian dog.

Unless she wants something specific, like to go for a walk or to play, Trixie pretty much leaves me to my own devices as I go about my daily activities. Andy, however, follows me wherever I go and plops down on the floor in whatever room I happen to be in. When I go in the bathroom he guards the door. When I go upstairs he sits at the bottom of the stairs until I come down. When I go into the kitchen to fix lunch or get a cup of coffee, he plays kitchen island. Not in a useful way, like being extra counter space to set things on, but in the sense that I have to go around him or step over him as I go from sink to stove to fridge.

When Paul and I watch TV or read, Andy naps on the living room floor or on the “dog sofa” and when we go to bed he moves to the bedroom floor.

Because it’s in his blood to inform the person in charge whenever there’s anything outside the status quo, he feels he must alert us when a large truck goes by out on the road, or when the girls next door get home from school, or when a train is coming. It’s amazing how far away he can hear the train coming. Probably a full minute before either Paul or I can hear it. But thanks to Andy, the train never sneaks up on us any more. Whew!

At various times during the day, especially in the morning and evening when it’s cooler, all the dogs play and play and play out in the yard. It’s so much fun to watch. Sophie’s favorite thing is to get everyone to chase her all around the huge yard, and then to duck into some underbrush, then dart out in a completely unexpected direction and everyone chases her again. Man, those dogs can run. Like the wind!

Well, I better get back to my organizing. I’ll be getting back to painting regularly next week, so keep checking back!