Up and Running

It’s hard to believe that I haven’t written a post (or painted) in a week.  That’s more of a Thanksgiving break than I should have given myself.  Still, we did have a wonderful Thanksgiving with some of my family here at the farm.

I had said I would post a pic of my Thanksgiving table.  After looking at the photos I decided you wouldn’t be all that impressed, so I’ll spare you.  I will, instead, show you a photo of the cheese ball/pumpkin that I made.

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as we did here.  We played Jenga with my 3 /12 year old grand-niece after dinner, dessert and a long hike.  She is really, really good at it!  She’s inspired me to get a Jenga game for our two smallest grandchildren for Christmas.

I spent the days after Thanksgiving pushing myself to workout and trying to get back on some kind of “fitness” routine.  I titled today’s blog “Up and Running,” to inspire myself.  So far, the “Running” is only figurative.  The “Up” is working out pretty well though.  It’s not the easiest time of year to decide to do this, but I really need it, so I’m not giving myself any excuses.  – Clint also booked a cruise for January 30th…oh my, by then I will be 60, so one more reason I am pushing myself now.  Two months to get a 60 year old beach body.   – wondering what kinds of pictures that is conjuring up in your heads??  eeek!

Okay, onto discussing art and creativity as I am supposed to do.  Since I have a way of being honest, I will tell you that I woke up this morning knowing that I had  to go down to the studio and paint.  I knew I couldn’t make any excuses.  I’ve done that now for over 2 years and I’m done with excuses.  There was only one problem that still presented itself as I headed for the coffee pot.  What to paint?  I hadn’t a clue.

For all of you who do have the great pleasure of knowing my husband, you know that he will kindly vouch for the fact that Leigh never has a plan.  It just a fact of life, like that grass is green and the ocean holds fish.  I try, I really do.  And, there are those special moments when I am forced to plot and plan. Those dutiful moments when someone might be depending on me.  Yes, then, I can and will rise to the occasion.  But, it most certainly is not in my nature to plan.

So, as I slowly drank my coffee, and pondered my predicament, I remembered that a painting has hung for over 2 years in our laundry room.  It’s not just a painting, it’s an unfinished painting.  Tah dah, that would be my first project on this overcast windy day.

I called an arty friend, we chatted about some arty plans.  I wolfed down some raisin bran, grabbed the painting off the wall, called the dogs and we were off to the studio.  The clouds were grey and the wind was whipping as we walked down the drive.  I hadn’t heard the weather today, but no doubt, from the look of things, we’d be getting rain.

I got to the studio/old farmhouse, set up the painting, searched for my oil paints and all that goes with them.  In glancing around, I spotted the other painting that I had begun, in acrylics, last week.  I smiled, that would be my second project of the day.  (see how things fall together, even for us ridiculously spontaneous types?)

 – 2013 comment here, dang, I ramble way too much…I have deleted loads of this post and still it just goes on and on.  Note: 2014 – don’t ramble Leigh, just get to the point, share a painting, or something of interest then – stop writing!!

Thanks for dropping in.  With Christmas/holiday season upon us, I know we are all going to be busy with parties, planning, baking and cooking, shopping, family, friends, decorating and maybe even a Salvation Army bell or two to ring.  There’s still loads to do here at the farm, so far the tree is up and that’s it.  But, what a great time of year!

If you like arty gifts, do check out Etsy.  Loads of wonderful artists post their creations there.  A great place to shop!  One day I dream of having some creations there myself.

Wishing you a Wow-Kinda week!

Smiling,

Leigh

A Busy Day for You and Me

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is almost here.  And, more amazing, Christmas season is here.  Oh, my!   Today, there’s “making a list and checking it twice,” but, it’s my Thanksgiving grocery list, rather than Santa’s Christmas list.

We’re discussing putting the tree up before our Thanksgiving company arrives.  Is yours up yet?  That’ll mean one more thing to do.  Funny, I thought I’d be spending the day’s before Thanksgiving setting up my studio, making it “workable.”  But, when this morning arrived, it didn’t take long for lots of Thanksgiving projects to start bouncing around in my head.  The next few days will be plenty busy, but not so sure part of that will be time spent in the old farmhouse, working on my studio.

I’d get a kick out of seeing all your Christmas trees, or your decorated Thanksgiving table.  Post them in your comment, we can all be inspired by them.  I am planning to post my Thanksgiving table once it’s all set.  I love seeing all the different and unique ways we all decorate and celebrate all the different special days in our lives.

Oh, and to report on this weekend and our fun with our company.  We had a blast, a very laidback group and we ate too much, but did do our share of exercising.  Aren’t you proud?    We took a long hike around the farm and up on the ridge, no easy climb to the top.

Four of us heading up the ridge, taking the lead.  (Laura and Mackie, both on the right, made it up first, Betsy and I dropped behind with the rest, ugh)

Here’s the group (we’ve named ourselves “Hales Bar Yacht Club”) at Jack Daniels Distillery, before our tour.

As the holiday season moves quickly into our lives, the days will fill up and time will fly by.  Recognizing and enjoying each special moment will be up to us as individuals.  Each friend, each family member so precious, so unique.  We’re all actors and actresses in each other’s play.  I hope our lines are sincere, straight from the heart.  Let’s never forget those urges to share, to give the love, respect, appreciation that we feel for those in our lives.  Life is so short.  Love from the heart, dream big, be brave, do great things, you’ve got it in you!

And remember, your love, your dreams, and your success motivate all who are watching you!

Smiling,

Leigh

Lynchburg, Here We Come!

Good morning!  Big day today, we’ve got friends heading our way from Hales Bar Marina (live-aboards), Chattanooga, and Cartersville, Ga.  The three couples are all boaters that we’ve become good friends with. Another interesting fact (I think) is that all 4 of the men are Vietnam vets.

When they all arrive this morning, we are heading downtown (I’m grinning as I say that) to Lynchburg. We’re all going on the Jack Daniels’ tour (Clint and I could be tour guides, we’ve heard the spill so much).  It’s quite entertaining, you should take the tour at least once in your life, for sure.  We’ll eat lunch in town too.  Then, head back to the farm for whatever fun we dig up.  They are all spending the night. Tomorrow morning Clint will fix Aretha Frankenstein pancakes.  If you haven’t tried them, you are missing out.  They’re wonderful!  And, our whole boaters gang is addicted to them.  (Betsy fixes them for us mornings when we all on our boats.)  You can check out our “other” life, our boating life by clicking here.

Since again it’s not a creative day, I’ve decided to share a few photos of the farm, our stomping ground, with you.

The chicken house and behind that, the horse shed for getting out of the weather.

Got milk?

A favorite walk on the farm, heading up on our ridge.  A hard hike, but, oh so worth it.  The view is gorgeous!

The driveway in the spring heading towards home.

A granddaughter enjoying the swing in the horse barn.

The horse barn.

Our summer friends.

Bliss, Summer, Hope and Star – they were a beautiful sight from the front porch as they grazed in the front pasture.  We have sold all of our beautiful lawn ornaments.

Faith, one of our beloved German Shepherds (we lost her 3 years ago) walking up towards the hay barn.

That’s enough, I could post and post photos of the farm.  We will all enjoy a long walk around the farm after that big breakfast tomorrow.

Our favorite college team as a week off, no game to day (thank goodness).  Do you have a favorite team?

And, brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, to Alexis and Ken and the littlest of our grandsons!  The wind chill there this morning is 17!!!  YUCK!   What’s the weather like where you live?  Warmer than 17, I hope!

Smiling,

Leigh

Good Morning, It’s Friday!

Ah, a good day ahead, despite that it looks overcast outside at the moment.  As I said yesterday, I won’t be doing any artwork today (unless you would be lenient with me and let me consider cleaning the house, putting things where they belong – and look best – an act of creating.  Yeah, you’re right, that’s pushing it a bit too far).

I hopped on my blog today to share something important to me.  I wanted to share my favorite charity with you, Smile Network International.   You can be a part of giving a child their beautiful smile to share with the world.  I cannot imagine living life without being able to share a smile.  I hope you’ll check it out.

Since I’m not creating today, I’ll share with you my husband’s favorite of my paintings –

A walk on the beach sounds like a great idea.   I’m missing the warm sunny days.  But, lots to do today and it’s going to be a great day.

Smiling,

Leigh

The Artist Is Human

No artwork today, I am a female, and I do have to get my hair done.  Then, it was off to grocery shopping for the weekend.  Boat friends are coming to spend the weekend with us.  Yikes, I have to cook!

Even though we are anxiously looking forward to friends coming this weekend, I was missing friends in general this afternoon as I put groceries away.  The phone rang and it was Mick.   I was thrilled to hear his voice, now we’re joining he and Cindy for dinner tonight.  I am so looking forward to spending some time with great friends.

Today, I am so thankful for my friends.  Clint and I have been so blessed with a beautiful variety of special people.  Life would not be the same without them.

This is an oil painting of a special friend of ours.  He was a Marine in WWII with the War Dog Platoon during the invasion of Guam, and later was on Iwo Jima for that bloody battle.  He has been a wonderful friend that we love dearly.  I took a photo of him in Hawaii when we were driving around exploring the island one day.  This painting is from that photo.

24×28

Tomorrow I’m baking a rum cake, making brownies, fixing white chili and cleaning and straightening for company.  If you’re bored, come on over and help.

Hoping you’ve got great weekend plans.  As Thanksgiving gets closer, we can enjoy thinking of all that we have been blessed with, family, friends, health, so much.  It brings back memories of a song I can remember singing, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.  Count your blessings, see what God has done.  Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God has done.”

I hope you have more blessings than you can count.

Smiling,

Leigh

 

A Sunny Day

Well, dagnabit!  I did much better yesterday when it was so dreary outside.  Today I was quite frustrated with myself.  I can feel myself dragging me back into my old routines, the over-detailed Leigh that just drives me nuts!!  I can’t seem to lose her.

I didn’t head down to the old farmhouse (studio) until noon.  Since the sun was showing its face, I decided I’d get the needed exercise and walk.

The girls lead the way as we headed towards another day of creating.

I had even dawned a ballcap with one of my favorite islands on it in hopes of it motivated me to great things.  Well…

…you know, maybe it just wasn’t a good sign that I wanted to stop along the way, talk to the barn cats, look for deer, take photos of signs…you know, actually to know me, you need to read this sign.  This sign is something I’m very proud of acquiring, I love all our wildlife, that love is part of who I am.

Okay, onward ho!

We arrive at the “studio,” I head up the stone steps, get to the porch and call the dogs.  Presley comes running, but Mackie sits down in the yard and stares at me.  I “command” her to come NOW.  She stares some more.  I find my most authoritative voice, “COME, NOW!”  She patiently continues to stare.  Okay, this is going to take action on my part…I march down the steps, swish through the leaves to where she sits, staring.  I again command, “Mackie, COME!”  She, the compliant and obedient dog that she is…

rolls over for me to rub her tummy.  Me, being the compliant owner, squats and d0es as she wishes.
What can I say?

We did finally get into the farmhouse and I did get busy trying to get something worthwhile painted.  Like I said at the beginning of today’s blog, it was not an impressive day of creativity for me.   There’s a part of me that says, “Hey, Leigh, it’s okay, at least you’re not settling for easy.”  But, gosh, I do get disgusted with myself.

This creativity issue, the “trying some new things” ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…or, maybe it is, but it’s not easy…I am always preaching about getting out of the box and, wow, I just can’t seem to crawl out of my box down there in the farmhouse.  Here’s what I got done today…

It’s a mixed media, 10×14.  I am really, really trying to move away from detail and realism and yet, yep, I just keep doing it again and again…I cannot make myself stop.  Okay, here’s the deal, I’ve got quite a few paintings already begun, all realism.  The deal is that I am not going to touch another one of them until I have done a week’s worth (maybe more) of WHATEVER, but no realism.  I guess I should really not do any more realism for 4 weeks.  Maybe never.  Ha!  I wish.  I just want to lighten up a little and enjoy my painting more.  I want my paintings to say something, I want them to have a voice.  I want them to have a life.  I’ve said enough.

Thanks a bunch for listening to the rantings of a frustrated artist.   ; )

Do you, by chance, know who Hieronymus Bosch was?

Still smiling,

Leigh

A Dreary Rainy Productive Day

Howdee, howdee, howdee!  It’s been a great day even though I got off to a rather slow start.  Clint took the above photo of the girls (lower left) and me working on a piece today.  As you can see, I’ve yet to organize anything.  I’ll even admit that not organizing has made it very hard to work, jumping back and forth from room to room, looking for this brush, that paint, that pen.  I feel confident that the day will come when organizing will just seem like the thing to do, but today, no.

I have so many paintings that I’ve started, so I’m taking advantage of my new “outa the box” feel and trying to knock some of those off, intermingled with new pieces.   Before I share those, I wanted to let you know that I’ve added quite a few older works.  When you have time, give them a look.

Here is one of the two I finished today.

"Blondie" 8x10 on matt board, mixed media

I had started this one with the idea of putting one of the barn cats in the piece, go figure.  As you can see, once I started drawing this one out, the cat idea got tossed for another day.  ; )

This next one has been sitting around for years (and years).  I’ve pulled it back out, looked at it, and put it back in its dusty spot.  Today, I shocked these two ladies and finished ’em up.  I did go in a totally new direction with it than what I had planned, fun!  I don’t know who’s more shocked that I finished this one, the painted ladies or me.  Now I’m motivated to get more of my old undone works out and do something with them.

"I Hope You'll Dance" 14x18, mixed media on canvas

It’s been a fun day for me, hoping yours has been a great one too.  I hope you’re following your dreams.  Every step, no matter how small, is important.  You have things to give the world that no one else does.  The world needs you!

Smiling,

Leigh