April Giveaway!!

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April Giveaway!!!

 

Sign up to follow my blog and be entered into a drawing on April 30th for a FREE 8×10″ matted and framed custom watercolor portrait!!  Drawing will be held on April 30th at 8pm and winner will be announced thereafter.  This is a $120 value.  Go to my Facebook page (Watercolor Creations Gallery) and share my page for an additional chance to win.  Good luck!

Best Friends

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Best Friends

A few months ago, I was asked to paint a picture of a friend’s husband with their beautiful (and quite large) dog, “Big John”.  I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t do the portrait justice, as Big John is very black, and watercolors tend to lift, so you have to be very careful when painting.  It took longer than most pictures, as it took many layers of paint to get the desired effect, but it is one of my favorites.  I want to give a shout-out to my friend, whom this painting was done for, as she and her husband have the most amazing business called Woodsy Wonders Props, making beautiful props for newborn photographs (they have many other amazing things too).  Check out her Instagram account @woodsywondersprops.

Dogs are known to be and often referred to be “Man’s Best Friend”.  I miss having a dog, but my allergies were pretty intense as a child when I had dogs.  Plus, I really don’t have adequate time to spend with a dog, or other pet, so I choose not to have any at this time.  Perhaps down the road, when I am retired and/or have the adequate time to spend with my pet, I will do so again.

I appreciate the loyalty that I have experienced with pets.  My first very own pet was a dog that actually adopted me.  I was about twelve-years-old and in the 5th grade.  My parents and I lived out in the country, about 8 miles from town.  We had horses, but no other pets at the time.  This short, little black and white mutt showed up at our house and I was absolutely elated. He didn’t have a collar, and we assumed he strayed from home.  A few days later, we found out that he belonged to our neighbors just up the road.  I was a little bummed that we found his owner, as I wanted to keep him, but at least I knew I could visit him, since he lived so close.  I found out that his name was Spanky (a little homage to The Little Rascals series) and the neighbors had just adopted him the prior week.  They tried to keep him home, but every chance he had, he would run down the road to my house, much to my surprise, and joy!  After many weeks of trying to keep him home, the neighbors finally suggested that I keep him, since he clearly had adopted me, and they couldn’t keep him home. We all, including my parents, knew that he belonged with me, so that’s how he became my very first pet of my own and my best friend.

I LOVED that dog!!!  He would  actually wait for me at the bus stop each day when I returned home from school.  He had short, stubby legs, but he could run surprisingly fast when he saw me, or knew I was coming.  He brought joy to my world and often went with me as I explored the outdoors (this was long before video games, cell phones and DVDs).  He was a Heinz-57, which ultimately meant that he was a various mixed breed of dog.  I couldn’t even tell you what various breeds he may have consisted of, but it doesn’t really matter, because he loved me with all of his being, and he helped me get through a difficult childhood filled with instability and uncertainty.  I have had other pets, and he is long gone, but Spanky will forever be special in my heart due to the unconditional love that we had for each other.

 

 

Wrapped in Love

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Wrapped in Love

 

By now, many of you have noticed that I paint a lot of pictures about mothers and children, primarily babies.  I don’t think there is anything more beautiful, amazing, precious, delicious-smelling, soft, and snuggly than a little baby.  I will expand that to say that I also love baby animals; kittens, puppies, ferrets, you name it, I love it, especially in baby-form.  Baby toes are like little sausages…you just want to eat them up!!!  Not literally of course, but seriously, I want to kiss those little precious nuglets of goodness.  You can’t really do this once babies start crawling/walking, as then they no longer remain clean, and, well being a germaphobe, it just ain’t happening.  For some reason, this brings me back to when my kids were very little, probably 4 & 5 years-old.  It was Father’s Day and they had brought my husband and I breakfast in bed.  It was simply a bowl of cereal for each of us (I love cereal…hello!!!…who doesn’t love a good bowl of Cap’n Crunch?!), they brought up two bowls of cereal and two spoons…it was a precious moment.  The look on their precious, cherubic little faces was priceless.  They were so proud that they had done this all on their own…yes they did.  I’m not going to lie…being a germaphobe, I am always concerned about whether someone has washed their hands before handling something that I am eating, or after shaking hands, etc.  I wanted to enjoy my bowl of cereal that my precious littles had prepared for us…but I let my husband take the first bite, since it was Father’s Day.  He did so, and of course, raved about how delicious it was, and how he especially loved it because it came from them.  I went to take my first bite, when I saw that my husband had a puzzled look on his face and hear him utter, “where did you get these bowls?”….I slowly put my spoon back in the bowl, as they answered “the dishwasher”…which, of course we were both realizing contained dirty dishes, hence the film of grit that he had scraped upon while gathering a spoonful of cereal.  There was also remnants of something on the spoons, the likes of which, I didn’t want to even guess what it could be.  We laughed and “ate” our cereal (and when I say “ate our cereal”, I mean, we pretended to eat our cereal and then dumped it out when the kids weren’t looking).  It is one of those funny moments that you laugh about with your kids when they are older and can find the humor in it all.  It was such a precious moment.  It wasn’t about the cereal, or dirty bowls & spoons…it was about the love that was demonstrated when our precious babies thought  about us on that special day.  There are many other precious days like this, but this is one is one of my favorites, as it was when we were still a strong family unit.  There is nothing more precious than that.  While my husband and I divorced, we each still experienced many other loving moments with our kids.  I watch my son with his kids and see the love that he has for them.  I know he will have many memories of dirty cereal bowls filled with love, and that makes my heart full and realize the many blessings I have in my life.

New Beginning

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New Beginning

This is a commissioned painting that I did for a young woman that I watched grow up from a young girl into a beautiful (inside and out) woman.  She is now a mother of the most adorable little baby girl, now one year old.  I enjoy painting wedding pictures, as they are so precious; full of excitement of a new journey through life together, and wonderment of what’s to come.

I have been married (and soon to be divorced) twice now.  It is not how I had envisioned my life, and there are times where I can’t help but think, “what is wrong with me”.  What could I have done differently…what could I have said that may have changed the course of the life of me and my partner.  In my limited wisdom from both age and experience, I now believe that there are a million answers to those questions.  I wasn’t perfect, my partner wasn’t perfect, and ultimately, not one person, but in fact, both are to blame for the untimely demise of our relationship.  Hindsight is always 20/20, and that’s because we often see what we refused to see when we were together with that person.  It’s always easier to blame the other person, but the truth is, in my humble opinion, that there is always some blame on both parties.  I won’t go into the details of how my marriages dissolved, but as a wiser person, who truly tries to learn from my experiences, I think that in both cases, we simply grew apart.  We “allowed” ourselves to grow apart.  It’s tragic and sad, especially when there are children are involved.  But, one must hope that they can pick up the pieces, learn from the past, and continue their journey into the future.  That’s what I have done, and I have to say that I am happier than I have ever been.  I have a wonderful man that has been in my life for the last nearly three years, and because we have both been married, I believe that we don’t have unrealistic expectations or fantasies about what a relationship should be.  We have taken our experiences to heart, and  together, we appreciate the relationship that we have, still appreciating our previous experiences.

I went into my first marriage very young (just turned 19) and had unrealistic expectation of what marriage would be.  I was still very much a child, so I was literally growing-up as I was first experiencing my role as a wife.  Not the best combination to ensure a lasting marriage.  Top that off with the loss of a child, parents (on both side) and other stressful situations, and you have the perfect recipe for a failed marriage.  Sure, if I could go back, I would change many things, but on the other hand, I may not have changed a thing, as it led me to where I am today.  I am happy, in love, doing what I love (watercolor painting).  I have beautiful, happy, adult children, and grandchildren.  I have many blessings in my life and I truly wouldn’t change a thing.

 

 

Hip Mom

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“Hip Mom”

Any mother will recognize this stance.  It seems to be the primary stance from the time your children are old enough to hold up their head, to the time they are too heavy to hold (for any length of time, anyways).  It’s almost a global symbolism for motherhood, as it is a stance used in most, if not all cultures.  Many carry their child this way while they are doing daily chores, shopping, or just snuggling with their child.  It feels to be a method to keep your child close, allowing them to feel safe, and comfortable next to mum; they can see the world around them, but within the safe confines of mother’s arms.  And as the hip pain sets in (due to poor posture and weight distribution), we switch our children to the other side.  For me, since I am right-handed, this often meant struggling to do daily activities with my left hand, not an easy feat for someone that is definitely dominantly right-pawed.

When my children were little, I had a difficult time “letting go”.  It was hard for me to allow them to be independent.  I was afraid of them getting hurt.  I even fretted about them getting dirty, which was ridiculous, because a.) they were children and b.) we lived in the country, where it is simply impossible NOT to get dirty.  My children loved to wander, explore, and yes, get dirty…really dirty.  A few unforgettable moments were when we found our children playing in the cow’s watering trough, sitting in it like a Jacuzzi tub.  As you can imagine, these tubs were not pristine, so I was a little freaked out.  Another time, my children decided to see what the cows’ salt lick tasted like.  As a germaphobic mother, this caused me a lot of anxiety.  Of course, I laugh about it now…as do my adult children.  I did ease-up over time, allowing my children to get filthy (oh so filthy), as they did take nightly baths, so my anxiety-riddled self would feel better knowing they were going to bed clean, free of the day’s filth, well, most of it anyhow.

I believe that part of the reason it was difficult for me to allow them independence early-on, was that it was simply hard for me to let go of them as children; as it meant they were growing up.  I wanted to preserve those sweet babies as they were so precious.  What I learned is that each stage of childhood was a treasure.  It was sad to see them transition from the “Littles” stage, but I also enjoyed watching them grow up into amazing, beautiful, thoughtful, loving adults. As they grew, I grew as well.  I tried to be a better mom each day.  I wasn’t perfect (I’m sure my children will quickly attest to this), but I have always loved them with all my heart and I have always tried to be the best mama I could be.  I believe my children know and understand this as well.  And while I’m no long able to hold my children on my hip, I will always hold them in a special place in my heart.

Days of Lavender

 

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“Days of Lavender”

I am loving the beautiful Spring weather we have been experiencing here in the Pacific Northwest.  The warm sunshine, new blossoms, and sounds of lawnmowers cutting blades of grass now reaching for the sky.  My favorite season has always been Spring, probably because I have been fortunate to live in an area that is picture-perfect when in bloom.  One of my favorite flowers is lavender.  Aside from the gorgeous color, the fragrance is heavenly.  I’m not big on floral scents, but I do love lavender, fresh or dried.  I even love lavender-scented products (ie: laundry detergent, hand soap, lotions).  I love smelling fresh clean, lavender-scented towels!!  Something about white linen and lavender just puts me in a good mood. In fact, my bedroom is white and lavender, which just feels so fresh and clean to me.  For some reason, lavender emotes feelings of a fresh new start, or starting over.  It’s a time to renew goals, forgive yourself for mistakes made, make positive changes, and start fresh.  It’s also a time for gratitude; gratitude for the opportunity to start anew, and for the many blessings in our life.  I am grateful for my family, the many friends in my life, my faith and the gift to express myself through watercolor. I am thankful for my days of lavender.  

 

Snuggles With My Littles

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“Snuggles with my Little”

My kids will tell you that I am extremely affectionate with those I love.  I have been that way for my whole life.  When my kids were “littles” I loved those special moments when they would crawl up in my lap and snuggle with me; their little heads nestled in my neck, and a warm blanket wrapped around us, keeping us warm.  To this day, when I am around someone holding a baby, I will find myself rocking back and forth…in fact, I am rocking back and forth as I write this, just thinking about holding my children. I miss those times.  Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed watching my children grow into amazing adults.  They are beautiful, kind, funny, witty, talented, amongst other things, and I love being around them. But, what I wouldn’t give to have a few moments with them both as “littles” again.  Their sweet innocence, precious personalities, and overall little lumps of sweetness that I could snuggle.  I am truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to be their mama.  I cannot express how much I love them each.

“Snuggles With My Littles” was painted to capture those precious moments with my babies (yes, they are still, and always will be my babies).  While my babies are grown, I now get to snuggle with my grand babies.  You can’t imagine that you can love anyone like you love your children…and then grand babies come along.  They are amazing…and even look a lot like my kiddos, so it’s a lot like snuggling with my babies all over again.  Yes, I am truly blessed.