A fun little Flip-o-Gram video on painting a quick little lotus last night. I love larger projects, but I’m constantly painting little fun (quick) projects as well. Many get tossed….you never see those!! Maybe some day, I’ll post a series of really bad paintings….lol!! But this little flower was fun to paint in between commissioned projects. More little clips like his to come. Hope you enjoy!! And…share this link, and tag me to be entered into a drawing to take place on 07/15/16 to win a limited-edition, signed 5×7″ print of this little dancer. As always, follow me on Instagram @lifeinwatercolorblog
It’s post Mother’s Day, a day that is meant to honor. remember, and celebrate our mothers and our own motherhood. It is often a day of joy and making memories, but for many, it is also a day that signifies loss. It might be the loss of a mother. I lost my own mother at the age of 44 due to breast cancer. It might be the unimaginable loss of a child. I lost my first daughter, Sierra RayLeen, who was a preemie that died the same day she was born. Perhaps it’s the loss of hope to become a mother, or the feeling of loss for a mother that has given up a child for adoption, or has been a surrogate, granting another to experience the joys of being a mother. For some, it may be a combination of these scenarios, or others not mentioned. I feel so fortunate to have known my mother and have had her for as long as I did. I know so many that lost their mothers at a much younger age than mine. Sadly, some never even know their mother.
Joey Feek, country singer and composer, was on my mind on Mother’s Day. She died recently of cervical cancer, leaving behind an amazing family, including a beautiful daughter, Indiana. Her story captured my heart from the moment I heard it. Perhaps it was because she was so young, as was my mother. Perhaps it was because she died of cervical cancer (I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, the earliest stage remedied with a hysterectomy). All I know is that I was drawn into the story of she and her family as she was deemed terminal and she went to her childhood home to spend her remaining days with her family. Her husband, Rory had said she was not going home to die, but to “live”. The love she had for her family was evident in every last photograph that was shared with the public. I did an abstract painting from a photograph of Joey and her daughter, Indiana, who had fallen asleep on her mother who was embracing her while laying on a hospital bed. It was a beautiful photograph, and the moment I saw it, I knew I wanted to paint it. I had found a quote that I thought was perfect for this photograph, “A mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go”.
On this Mother’s Day, I was elated to spend time with my two grown children, Talisa and Taylor. I am so thankful that God blessed and entrusted me with these two beautiful beings. They are grown-up, but they will always be my babies. I have outlived my mother’s age by nearly five years now, and I recognize how fortunate I have been to watch my kids grow up and to see my grandchildren. Nothing is promised and we never know how much time we have here on earth. I am truly grateful for every moment I have with my children, whether it’s spending time together, on the phone, or even the little messages we send back and forth (thanks to current technology). As quoted by Hermann Hesse, “If I know what love is, it is because of you”.
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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.
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.
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.
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.