Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Letting it go.

The end.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."  John 12:24

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Farewell September!

I know, I know... my massive reader-base has been wondering what in the world happened to me this summer. (Sarcasm)

 Hello... hello?  Is anyone there?  ...I know I did not have a massive reader base, and may not even have a soul left out there now.  But, just in case anyone is still checking in and has indeed wondered what has become of me...well, I'm still here.  I did have an exceptionally busy summer.

From May - mid July I had a nearly full time (volunteer) job coordinating our state-wide homeschool art and photography contest.  THAT was much more work than I realized it would be.  On the heels of that I spent the month of August going back and forth to another state to help with some family health issues and to attend a weekend workshop with a wonderful watercolor artist, Brenda Swenson.  That was a JOY!

Of course there were many other events large and small which filled our days (we prepared a place in the yard for a desert tortoise, and just recently were okayed to 'adopt' one from the state for one thing) but I don't want to bore you dear readers, so I won't go into all the details.  :)

Here is some of the artwork I did sketch/paint over the summer.  Just to prove I wasn't a couch potato munching bon bons for the past few months.

Many of these are sketches done for Sketchbook Skool, an online artist journal keeping practicum.  It's new, it's awesome.  Do it.  So the themes and subject matter are random, depending on the teacher/technique/style of the week's 'klass'!  (Not sure I'll ever get used to the 'k' thing, though!)

Lesser goldfinch sketched from my photos, just for practice, not SBS

SBS assignment for Tommy Kane's klass.  

Summer Skool Student led assignments while waiting for 2nd semester to start.

Sketchbook Skool 'Seeing' begins, first assignment, sketch toast... really!

SBS Danny Gregory assignment, quick and slow (quick wash, slow inking)

Sketched a beetle I found while we were camping one weekend in July.  

Sketched the gravestone of a poor lynched rancher.  This is the brutal west after all.

More SBS lessons... Andrea Joseph's collection assignment.  Painstakingly slow inkwork, in the photo the piece is unfinished.  The page may or may not be finished to this day.  ;) 

SBS My FAVORITE teacher thus far, Liz Steel, her lesson was terrific and practical. 

A lesson from Strathmore's free online courses, this one was quite good, by Gay Kraeger.
A wee birthday card sketched for a friend.

Brenda Swenson's workshop in Lake Arrowhead was on negative space watercolor technique.  Love her and loved this workshop!

Another piece done at Brenda's workshop.  

Spent a few lazy days at my brother's in Dana Point.  One day at the beach 'she sketched sea weed by the sea shore'.
One morning I sliced a peach and set it on the window sill next to another peach, and the light on their forms called me to paint. 

Sketched this friendly catbird I had photographed last May in Central Park.  (Oh yeah, we went to NYC in May for our son's graduation, 'magna cum laude' from the King's College.  :)) 
Another assignment from Gay Kraeger's class.  (used tissue to lift clouds, along with sponging and splatters to make assorted textures in a landscape)

While in Dana Point my niece took me whale watching.  We saw several great blue whales.  I painted this for her as a thank you.  

A small study done from a photo I took last spring of a bee and globe mallow.  Put some Swenson technique into this one.

Closer detail on my little 5"x 6" painting.  I'd like to develop this into a more formal work. Love the colors.  

Okay... so I DID get in some art time this summer.  My goal was to do much much more, but life didn't always cooperate.  Thankful that I did manage this much.  :)

Now, all in favor of me posting my favorite animal photos from the summer in my next post, say 'AYE!'

(insert cricket chirping here)

Hope your summer was warm, soft, and full of sweet memories!  God bless you.  :)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Farewell May

A last nod to spring, though here in the desert spring has all but vanished for the most part.  This weeks temperatures reached 107 degrees.  Our spring starts early and ends early!  :)

So May was packed with special events for our family this year, a trip to NYC for our youngest's graduation from College, which coincided with our Anniversary and Mother's Day.  A project I volunteered for has gotten into full swing and demanding my time, quite a bit.  A local Art Contest, so it's an endeavor I'm enjoying for the most part.

Late May which is truthfully early summer here, includes many plants going to seed, birds still nesting or raising their young, a few cactus still blooming.  Well, take a peek at what I found close to home this week...

A Jack Rabbit nibbling on premature saguaro fruit, probably knocked loose by birds.

I don't often get the chance to snap these guys at the preserve, usually too few and too quick.  I wonder if this fellow might be unwell, he was pretty slow. 

Just a very few blossoms left on the saguaro, while the fruit are not yet ripe.  Arizona is home of the biggest bluest skies! 

The Ironwood trees are blooming and full of bees.

The creosote is heavy with seed, gone are the bright yellow flowers till next year. 

Likewise many other desert blooming shrubs.  Spiky seed pods on this species.

Here's what happening in the yard; the wild sunflowers are bursting with blooms, which is providing a feast for the goldfinches, precisely why I planted them!

Monday, April 21, 2014

For the Christian, Passion Week should inform every day...

Easter, the Passion week, Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday... the holiday we just finished is the pinnacle of the Christian faith.  It should be in our mind and hearts every morning as we awake, remembering His awakening from the dead... This is why we call ourselves 'Christian' and why we are who we are and do all that we do.  It's why we love Him, believe Him and hope in Him.  It's why we worship in community all over the world on Sunday instead of another day.  It's the proof of God's love for man.

If you desire to maintain the fresh appreciation for the Gospel that comes with Passion week, or, if you know you were not as affected by 'Easter' as you should have been, please take a moment to watch this very short film from Igniter Media.  It's worth it.

Sounds of the Cross

Monday, April 7, 2014

Across Five April

No, that's not a typographical error. It's a play on the novel titled 'Across Five Aprils'. A beautiful, sad story about the Civil War.

 My title simply refers to the date, April 5th... and the vistas I was blessed to look 'Across' on that date while on a long, desert hike with my husband. The very best Saturday mornings are the ones we go exploring in the outdoors. I love it! (despite the potential bee swarms, scorpion stings, and rattle snakes!) Spring is fast warming up and many blooms have now faded and set seed. But, new species are budding and blooming in their place. It was a breezy, puffy cloud dotted, blue sky day, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We estimate we hiked about 5 to 7 miles (maybe even more!), and we both took pictures to help capture the mornings loveliness. Here are a few of mine...
To make sure we got some 'exercise' out of our time, we headed up some steep hills. 

Foreground rocks.. volcanic or granite?  In the distance the Estrella mountain range.

A blooming shrub I've finally been able to identify!  Range Ratany (what on earth does that mean?)

A saguaro cactus mutation, these are rare to find.

King of the hill.  Soon after this was taken, he spotted a coyote scrambling into the wash.

The past several weeks I've hiked repeatedly through a less traveled canyon, and I have heard a single bird singing a beautiful call that I'd not heard before.  Every time I have gotten close to where I might be able to identify the bird, she/he has gone quiet, or flown swiftly away to where I can't find him again.   

But on this day, while Ron and I were out in an area we've never hiked before, I heard this same birdsong.  Determined to id the singer, I slowly worked my way toward the singing and was able to use the nice zoom capabilities of my camera to spot and id him at last.  :)  I wondered if it were one of the many sparrows that live in the Sonoran, and I was right... it turned out to be the black-throated sparrow.  This is the first time I've seen one, he sang and sang, even when I'm sure he noticed me creeping up.  I only managed to get one shot of him in focus... through the limbs of an old dead tree.

(You can hear his sweet song here;  )

Black throated sparrow
Fully open blossom of the Teddy-bear Cholla. 

The first open blooms I've seen this year on a Saguaro.  The buds have appeared so quickly!
The colors of flaming ocotillo and a distant palo verde's yellow flowers.  

Soon the blooms will be parched by the summer heat... but even a desert plants bones hold beauty!
In the backyard our wild sunflowers are blooming madly and providing a feast for the local goldfinch community... precisely why I gathered seeds and planted them!  :)  

Have a sunshiney, bright daisy kind of May 31st!