Tag Archives: painting

Living in a Fast Paced World

At Tuesday’s doctor appointments, we discussed transferring me to a neuro rehab clinic for my Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. This is still in the future plans, but because I currently have a driving restriction until I take a driver’s mobility test (based off the way I am currently walking, just to ensure safety on my reaction times)–it could be up to three weeks until I get the test completed even though I am on the current waiting list. Because of this, I am not able to get myself over to the rehab facilities and since I have already started with Home Health, the plan for now is to let them finish their sessions and then I go on from that point. I have been pleased with my PT sessions so far.

My first session of PT was last week and I start OT next week, which I am anticipating, because today in getting ready my hands lost grip of my makeup bag–momentary sadness to shatter a perfectly good bronzer. Anyway, while last week’s PT session was mostly talk and the “see where you’re at” balance, strength and mobility tests, this week was a full 45 minute workout. I have had PT twice already: one after my first blood clot to strengthen my left leg and the second session this past Spring to strengthen my neck and upper back muscles.

I have never experienced a singe PT session that would literally leave me so exhausted that I had to take a nap in the afternoon. To demonstrate how weak my muscles are–picture me on my knees, lifting the exercise ball over my head (repeat 4 times). By the last, my arms were beat. We also did a lot of balance exercises where I lift one knee while on the other and then rolling the exercise ball back and forth while maintaining balance. To the average person, these may seem so easy, but to a person such as myself, it was difficult. To be honest, today I felt like a toddler…learning to balance and lift things, freely falling over and struggling to get up. But the strength and retraining my mind to use the muscles does not happen over night..it is baby steps. 🙂

Of course, I overdid myself this morning after my session. I went downstairs and painted a canvas that will be on display next week at a pizza parlor in Yellow Springs. (more to come on that!) I finished but had some extra paint and don’t like to waste it, so I set out to finish a small abstract one as well. No joke, the last few seconds of “finishing touches” on the painting and the table topples over!! Thankfully, the painting was not ruined, but for the cleanup process, I was back on my knees like my PT session and struggling to get everything picked up without making a bigger mess. By the end of my painting session, I looked like a painting. 😉

I had been to Michaels a few weeks ago to pick up paints and a pack of 8×10 canvases. At the check out isle there were some extra-large reusable bags and on an impulse decision, I bought one in order to carry my paintings around when they go on display in Beans-n-Cream or anywhere else. Artistically decorated, the front says the classic line, “Stop and smell the roses.” I thought of The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Growing up, Ferdinand was different. While his peers were shaping up to be the best for bull fighting, Ferdinand just wants to smell flowers. Only when he sits on a bee does anyone take notice of him. At the bull arena, he is adorned with roses…everyone expects him to put in a good show, and he just wants to smell the flowers. 🙂

Too often I try to rush forward in my physical body, even though it is no longer capable of the word “hurry.” I forget to stop, breath in, smell the roses (sweetness of God’s mercy and grace) and realize that I don’t have to feel pressure to keep up with the fast paced world. God can use me just as I am…like a child.

They say that I can move the mountains
And send them crashing into the sea
They say that I can walk on water
If I would follow and believe
with faith like a child

Jars of Clay. “Like a Child.” Self-titled debut album. 1995.


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times, Paintings

I am Protected

I am noticing the more my right hand progresses in numbness and the left in shakiness, the more clumsy I am getting. I constantly drop things like pens or silverware I am holding. Today I could not get a grip on the permanent marker I was attempting to write with and after a neat little hand stunt of marker flinging in circular motions, it landed on the table. I just had to laugh.

About an hour later, I am downstairs setting up my paints and canvas to finish a large painting that has been sitting in the basement half-finished for almost a year. (Yes, believe it.) My phone was in my pocket and I took it out to set it on the stool. I lost grip of it and it crashed to the cement floor. But it was protected…

When my Dad and I set out in February to seek a new phone for my upgrade, I had two options that were not flat Smart phone style with the touch screen. I can’t hold those, let alone use the touch screen with my fingers (especially now – even using the mouse pad on my laptop is getting extremely difficult.) I reasoned even then that sticking with the old-fashioned flip phone was the best choice. Because I drop my phone so often, Dad suggested getting a hard protection cover. Brilliant suggestion; the cement in the basement was no match for my phone cover!

Then I began to paint. Because I was painting a tall canvas, I knew that when I reached the bottom I would not be able to bend over and paint the way that I intended. I tried different ways to set it up, but ended with laying it flat on the table and working from the sides.

My sister had given me an apron specific for painters at Christmas. I always wear old clothes when painting and usually the apron. I forgot the apron today and with working from the sides of the painting, I started to get a fancy blue lined paint pattern on my shorts. Then I noticed my right hand had smeared in the paint on the board and left a huge print where there was not supposed to be any blueish-green color. Frustrated, but figuring it was a more abstract style of a painting anyway, I fixed it.

My thoughts have been on protection today. Maybe it started after yesterday’s experience of coming within about ten feet of hitting a deer about a quarter-mile from my house. Or last night when I came out of my room to get more water, I lost balance right next to the sofa and came within inches of hitting my head on the coffee table. Marcia and Mom were already in bed.

It is in these small moments, even to the monstrous health problems, that I see God’s protection. I am protected. There are still days to come but with this truth, I am living with an extra dose of gratitude.

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. Psalm 91:14


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My first art class!!

In the basement, we have a room that is peach-colored. It is both the guest bedroom and what we term…”the craft room.” It is where we do our projects of all sorts and be creative. I was working at the sewing machine last week and noticed a picture frame sitting propped against the wall in the corner. The picture is a quote that reads, “The ‘earth’ without ‘art’ is just ‘eh.'” As I continued to try not to sew the back of my shirt to the front, I thought, “How true.”

Just think of the earth…how even now with green grass emerging and soon to be blossoms and flowers…what lovely artwork. If earth were just a painting, then God truly is the master-painter.

I am so thankful for art–creativity.

Friday evening, I attended my friend’s birthday party. What a unique and enjoyable birthday celebration! I think I might just steal the idea and have a party like this for my own birthday next year–that might be too far ahead–maybe I will just plan a tea party and then host the painting party then.

Yep, you read that right! A painting party! We paid our fee and then all the supplies were provided. The lady (who knew my friend as a personal friend) was also an artist and she “taught” a little art class. We–I say, “we” because it was a whole new experience of technique for me that I felt as if I had never painted before!–all painted our own canvases in the techniques she showed us…and I think each painting reflected the artist! In art there is no limits on creativity. Best part is, there is always room for improvement! 😀

Here is my painting:


Like I stated before, my night was about learning the techniques–the “how-to’s”–of mixed media. I have already used book pages, buttons, and other add-on fixtures to my paintings before but I learned even more about using the paints (and saving paint!)

For the background, I chose to do a one color theme but we also had the choice to paint with several colors. We used old gift cards or rewards cards that she had there (like the credit card style of card.) You put down the paint in small quantities and then use the card to smear the paint. This makes it smooth and if you don’t want to paint the sides then it helps keep that clean too. Genius! When I got home, I went through my wallet to see if I had any cards I could possibly use. Lucky me, I found two.

Then we used bubble wrap (who would have known?) and you put the paint on the side where the bubbles are and smear it. I learned that less is more. Too much paint makes big blotches. We added the dictionary script with mod podge and then I added a few more bubble wrap lines in the darker purple and a bit of extra effect around the edges using the “sea-foam green.”

I also discovered that my fabric was thick and one should always use fabric scissors, which I did not know we had until I had finished cutting shredding mine. But, I think it still turned out well, thanks to the idea from the lady who suggested adding greens to my vase and I went ahead and outlined the vase as well. This is my biggest area of improvement for next time. Skinnier fabric, bigger vase.

The flowers were the best part. We were told to always start with white on the bottom first, then add the color. Swirl, swirl, swirl. I added some yellow dots on my flowers; other ladies added different types of leaves or had multi-colored flowers. All painted in their own way.

Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” I think we just might have solved that problem Friday night. 🙂


Filed under Paintings

My favorite Painter.

If you haven’t noticed by now–my Greece pages under my “I Like!” section are still currently where they were months ago. I feel like my progress relates to the frustration of long-term road construction; but when it is finished…it will be a grand thing! I do apologize for that and hope to get those updated with pictures and stories very soon!

Following some sort of train of thought from Greek civilization, artwork and architecture to more modern times, I have an announcement. I have discovered my favorite painter.

Yes, I decided this last Sunday afternoon as I visited the Columbus Museum of Art. An excellent way to spend your afternoon if you are ever in the area..bonus it is free admission on Sundays. 😀 My favorite painter is not one I ever remember learning about in my two years of required art class in high school. I remember in particular Vincent von Gogh, well, because he had such a heart breaking life. However, his “Starry Night” is one of my personal favorite paintings of all times. I learned about Michelangelo, da Vinci, Raphael, and Picasso. But never do I remember hearing the name: Claude Monet. My favorite painter.

img_columboh07_07 (1)

I probably would not have initially recognized his “Weeping Willow” piece on display in one of the rooms had it not been for purchasing blank greeting cards from Barnes and Nobles around Christmas. It is so hard to find good writing cards that this particular boxed set seemed to be exactly what it should be–12 designs with two each. The box holding the cards/envelopes even has a picture of one of the paintings on the cover so it can be reused. I skimmed through the assorted replica pictures and bought the boxed set being more excited about having nice greeting cards more than who the artist was.

After starting to write some cards, I noticed Monet’s name. I still have no idea who he was, but I am really liking his style. I think that is what it comes down to really–I like his style of painting. The strokes…most short and the contrast of light in each painting. It makes the painting seem to have a deeper dimension. Monet is said to be one of the founders of the Impressionism movement. I went on to read, “The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise.” [or in French: Impression, soleil levant] (2)

780px-Claude_Monet,_Impression,_soleil_levant,_1872 (3)

I am still trying to understand the Impressionist technique, but I think I just opened a new window of fascination in my interests! The best part of having a favorite painter is the feeling that I am now an art student. 😀 I can’t wait to get to the library and check out some art books and begin reading more about these different movements in art history as well as other artists. Sometimes when I paint, I get stuck in a rut–the same pattern, colors, style. By learning, I have an opportunity to create better artwork myself. How exciting! “Attitude is the mind’s paintbrush. It can color any situation.” ~Anonymous.

Do you have a favorite painter or artist?


(1) Claude Monet. (French, 1840-1926). Weeping Willow. 1918. Oil on Canvas.  51 5/8 x 43 7/16 in. (131 x 110.3 cm). © Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio. Retrieved from  http://arthistory.about.com/od/from_exhibitions/ig/inmonetsgarden/img_columboh07_07.htm

(2) [*Excellent site! You can see his other paintings too, under “The Complete Works” tab.] Retrieved from http://www.claudemonetgallery.org/biography.html

(3) Claude Monet. Impression, soleil levant, 1872. Image retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Claude_Monet,_Impression,_soleil_levant,_1872.jpg


Filed under Paintings, Random, Uncategorized

The Master Painter

This week I have been spending much of my time painting. The Yellow Springs “Art on the Lawn Festival” that is approaching on August 11th. I am getting excited for the event, but in the next two weeks I also have a lot of details to figure out with the booth set up and paintings. I am so thankful for my family allowing me to take over the basement with my projects. My dad even put in a fluorescent light in a corner of the unfinished part, so I can paint my big paintings. Yes, HUGE. Well, they could be bigger, but for right now they are the biggest I have ever worked with, meaning the boards being almost as tall as I am…that I consider pretty big. 🙂

A few things I have learned the past few weeks of painting: Artists keep an open mind (explore possibilities); Artists learn from others and artists do not procrastinate. Also from personal experiences: Artists do not talk with their hands while holding a paintbrush. 🙂

My family sees all my paintings. I have had paintings I consider duds, but that is where my family sees potential in them. Some like today, needed help! My mom and sister offered a few suggestions of how to make the painting better…then my dad came in and made a few comments, so I fixed more things. As I was finishing, I got paint (unknowingly) on my hand that smeared the bottom of the board. I had to redo the whole bottom half. I spent hours on this one piece. After finishing, I took a small break then headed back to work on another. But then it hit. Just this wave of fatigue. It felt like being back at college during finals week. I caved and took a nap.

As I was cleaning up for the night, I noticed a beautiful sunset out the window. I grabbed my camera and rushed outside just as the colors were peaking through the clouds. I realized that my painting is so small compared to the sky–God’s canvas. He is the Master Painter. I stood in awe of His work, His beauty and His majesty.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.

Their voicegoes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for  the sun,
which comes out like  a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.

Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

Psalm 19:1-6

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Filed under Family Times, Paintings

Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

Today is Lemonade Day! At least it was at work. I am a big fan of lemonade mostly because I don’t like the taste of water. Isn’t that odd? Water (unless it is salt water) does not taste like anything. Of course, Denver water did taste–and it was a nasty taste!! My habbit of drinking Sobe Lifewaters or lemonade is the key to quenching my thirst. Nothing like lemonade on a hot summer day!

Lemonade fits any occasion…small patio parties or barbeques; kid’s lemonade stand with cookies; reading on a lawn chair; at baseball games or any other outside event; or even a tasty treat when I paint. 🙂 How did you like that transition sentence?? 😉 No really, I wanted to share with you the latest of my summer theme paintings:

Tidal wave


I painted this a few days after watching Soul Surfer with my sister. Believe it or not, it was my first time watching it. Bethany Hamilton’s story of faith and perseverance is inspiring. I was encouraged to hear the questions she faced in going through losing her arm. Even with totally different health issues, I think we asked some of the same questions. Bethany lives out Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” So when I went to paint a few days later, I had her story in mind.

Seeing people surf amazes me. They hold onto the water like a wall. The waves are rolling in and coming down, but they continue on…persevering to get to the end of the wave and come out on the other end. Reminds me of Psalm 42:7-8,

Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your  waves have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,     and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

 My next paintings were just for fun…


(I know it looks a lot like the one I did for my Mom. The only painting I have ever tried to copy a 2nd time around. Nothing better than the first one. 🙂 Lesson learned.)

Country Pleasures


Buckeye Pride


Notice the way I used a map behind? I used Mod Podge glue. 🙂 Also notice you are staring at the northwest part of the state. Well, I used the other half on Dad’s Christmas present (which was a painting), LOL. If you don’t know what this stands for…it is The Ohio State University logo. A mere try, but the leaf turned out more Maple looking I think.



For this last piece, I found my favorite hymns (I own several hymn books) and used them as the background. I wanted it to be more just an outline of paint so most of the words showed, but it turned out better. The mod podge worked great, but when I went to paint, the papers shifted a little, leaving texture on the mountains. I like the way it turned out!

A few of the hymns I used: The Old Rugged Cross, For the Beauty of the Earth, All Creatures of our God and King, Draw me Nearer, Standing on the Promises, Crown Him with Many Crowns, Heaven Came Down, Surely Goodness and Mercy, To God be the Glory, and a few more. 🙂


Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.



Filed under Paintings

The color red.

Think of the color red. What comes to mind? I see a bright red, almost like a Delicious apple. I see lipstick. I see STOP signs. These are the first things I think of when I say the word, “red.” Isn’t it interesting to think that we all see different shades of colors? My shade of red is not the same of your shade of red. Not sure where I heard that, but I did once…maybe in a science class. Just another example of how unique each person is. 🙂 (Don’t believe me? Look it up. I just did and found many sites to confirm.) 🙂

Red. Seems to be the infamous color of most major sports teams here in this side of the country. I see red every day at work…I even wear a red shirt. (Of course some have seen their better days. I have a red shirt with pink polka dots on the bottom. I was helping a lady get things out of her cart and did not realize that her Clorox was leaking…or had been leaking her whole shopping trip. The grand finale was all over my red shirt and hands. I was very clean, but the smell gave me a headache. To reduce the white spots, we colored it in with a red magic marker. Genius, but it is now fading with every wash.)

There are different tones of red. Have you ever stopped to see around you the different tones of colors? Red. It can have several different meanings.

Beauty: Male birds such as Cardinals–very bold red! There are also Robins…their chest is a shade of red/orange. The only other red bird that I can pick out in the crowd is named…are you ready for this? It’s named “Purple Finch.” What on earth?!? It is red! I don’t understand that one! But hey, we all see different shades of colors. 😉 I found a website where it names all the birds (primarily the North American birds) that have shades of red. Very interesting. http://www.whatbird.com/browse/objs/all/birds_na_147/110/color/2066/red

Old barns. (Why do farmers paint them red anyway? Is it for a specific purpose or just the classic farm look? Either way, I think they are beautiful to see among the farm-house and equipment.) There are also a lot of red fruits (which happen to be my favorite!) Strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, watermelons, raspberries, cranberries, grapes and apples–each designed in a different shade of red and also flavor.

There is beauty in red when I think of love. There are red hearts and red roses. Just thinking of love made me think of passion. Passion reminded me of lust. Did you know that “lust” is an actual shade of red? I just learned this! Of course in context and definition, love and lust have different connotations. Love, so much more than just Valentine’s Day. C.S. Lewis said,

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

There is a beauty in symbolism, such as the USA flag. As Secretary of the Continental Congress, Charles Thompson said, “Red, [signifies] hardiness and valour,” (Duane Streufert. 2005.) There is a red ring within the Olympics five rings (representing the five continents). And of course Christmas. Red and green. There are obvious ones that I am not sure of the meaning. Why is Rudolf’s nose red? Or why does Santa wear a red suit? There are red berries on mistletoe, red strips on candy canes and the wise men gave three gifts to Jesus: Gold, frankincense and myrrh. I thought maybe myrrh was red based, but was not certain until I looked it up. It is. 🙂 I found this site so interesting! http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/botany/question2831.htm. And last, when I think of myrrh, I also think of red rocks. I lived near Denver’s Red Rocks amphitheater. Beautiful! There is also the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and my personal favorite that I hope to see someday: Petra (Mount Hor, Jordan). Truly beautiful!

From: http://www.oddee.com/item_89087.aspx (If you love history and architecture, then read this site. It is about the 10 lost cities.)

Practical uses: STOP signs, which were not always red. In fact there were no such things as stop signs at the beginning of the 20th century. You think seeing a person run a stop sign or run through a red light today is maddening, listen to this:

At a time when there were no driver’s licenses, speed limits or clear lane demarcations, the notion of a stop sign was revolutionary. In fact, aside from the occasional road markers letting riders on horseback know how far they were from the next city, there was no road or street signage at all. (Greenbaum and Rubinstein, December 2011.)

Sounds pretty chaotic! Even when they were put into place they were “a 2-by-2-feet sheet of metal with black lettering on a white background” (Greenbaum and Rubinstein). It wasn’t until 1954 that they turned red. There are other warning signs. I took this picture at an old mill. I thought it was hilarious considering my history of falling and weak ankles:

Fire extinguishers, EXIT signs in buildings, rear lights on automobiles, and flashing lights of police, fire and ambulance vehicles all contain red. People who take pictures like to take out red: reduce red-eye functions. Growing up, we graded papers at school with a red pen. Red helped you see your mistakes. Have you ever read the classic book, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne? The scarlet letter is an uppercase A attached to Hester’s dress, representing the shame and punishment of adultry. Although I was not a big fan of the book in high school, I would like to read it again realizing that there is so much imagery and symbolism that I might not have understood before. My Bible uses red print in the four Gospels and Acts to show when Jesus speaks. When I paint, I have to be careful; red takes over the other colors. Sometimes the blendings make a deep blend of purple, which helped on my mountain portrait…but other times if I use too much red then it ruins the painting. Likewise in opposite cases, I add red to bring out some flavor of an otherwise dull piece of art. Red is so practical.

What do you see in red? I started out with a short hand written list. The more I thought of the color, the more came to my mind. Take time this weekend to enjoy your favorite colors, whether it is red or another. Red is not necessarily my favorite color, but it was a great place to start (it is the first color of the rainbow you know–at least from top to bottom. I learned it as ROY G BIV. Others learned it the opposite way with violet starting, VIB G YOR. Makes more sense to me the first way.) 😀 More to come…


C.S. Lewis. http://thinkexist.com/quotes/c.s._lewis/

Duane Streufert. 2005, February 10. What Do the Colors of the Flag Mean? The Flag of the United States of Amercia. Retrieved April 20, 2012 from http://www.usflag.org/colors.html

Hilary Greenbaum and Dana Rubinstein. 2011, December 9. The Stop Sign Wasn’t Always Red. The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2012 from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/magazine/stop-sign.html

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Filed under Books and Movies, Paintings, Uncategorized