"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." Goethe

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Mural

On Saturday Jeff and I went to a training session to prepare us to be guides at the Kansas City Temple Open House in April.  As part of the training we were given a tour of the nearly finished temple--and I saw the mural.  It is beautiful.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Loire Valley

I've posted a challenge painting of the Loire Valley, France, on ADNW.  I enjoyed every minute of painting this because it was a place that did get marked off  my sticky note list in my cupboard--at just this time last year.  The weather was beautiful, the springtime flowers were out, and the castles and pastries were fabulous.  My parents were able to come, and that is a good memory for us all.

Several paintings I've posted lately, including this one, are part of my first batch headed to Scriveners in Leavenworth for sale.  It is an art co-op, and I'm excited to be part of it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I've just finished a couple of paintings that are all about lines.  This is of the Centennial Bridge, which crosses the Missouri River at Leavenworth.  One day last fall, Matthew took me on a "photo hunt."  He drove me around and I had him stop so I could take pictures of things I would like to paint.  When we were crossing the bridge, I just snapped away and then had him drive back and forth over it while I kept snapping. This is the one I chose to paint.

This is one of the three paintings I started a couple of weeks ago.  I  just wanted to try a non-objective painting that was driven by line and color.

An interesting line is captivating.  Here is one of my all-time favorite line paintings.  Look at the line her body makes, the line of the drapery, the cape, the wings.  Wow. 

The Annunciation by Simone Martini

Monday, March 19, 2012

Steamboat Arabia

Last week when Meredith was home for spring break, we finally went down to the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City.  We used to see "commercials" for this steamboat and its sunken treasure on AFN when we were in Heidelberg in 2001-2003.  Every time I saw the commercial, I would think, "I sure would like to see that."  I was not disappointed--what a treasure of bits and pieces of 1850s life frozen in time.

  While I was there, I decided it would be a great idea to put some of these things in still life paintings.  So, you may soon see these on canvas.

By the way, I've decided that I do not want to live through The Hunger Games on the big screen.  It just goes too far and any legitimate point about being human is lost in the horrific details of the games.  It has a slightly similar theme to Shirley Jackson's short story, The Lottery, but Jackson's irony and brevity make her story more poignant. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Petersburg

I'm ready to submit a painting of St. Petersburg to The Virtual Paintout.  It is a site with a very inventive way to challenge painters.  It gives you a map of somewhere in the world where you must find a Google street view and then paint it.  This month, it is St. Petersburg.  I am amazed at what the painters on there come up with.  I tried to find something that would identify the place of the painting, and I found St. Trinity Cathedral from across the river.  I had fun "walking" around looking for a painting because while I was in Vilseck, St. Petersburg was written on a list on a sticky note tacked inside my kitchen cabinet of places I wanted to see while I was in Germany.  I didn't make it there, but now that I've painted it, I've decided the wish list is not abandoned, it is just on hold.

The water was an experiment.  When I finished it, I thought, "That water is boring."  The next morning when I woke up, I thought--"Think Gauguin!"  Then, without any regard for ruining the painting, I put the patches of color you see here.  I decided I liked it much better.

The bridge in this painting reminds me of a green balcony and a green bridge in a couple of paintings I like.
The Balcony by Manet
Bridge at Giverny by Monet

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Right Now I'm Reading. . .

The Hunger Games.  It is very engaging--what exactly is motivating Peeta?  I'm not quite finished yet, but I will be before the movie comes out next week.  I have decided, however, that I will hold off going to the movie until I get some reliable feedback.  There is a lot that can be exploited, sensationalized, or exaggerated in a movie version of this story, and I'll have to see if it is something that I want to live through on the big screen.  Are you reading The Hunger Games?  What do you think?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Lorax

I saw The Lorax this week, and I liked it.  I was braced for environmentalist propaganda, but it was just a Dr. Seuss book made into a movie. It has an added villain who sells canned air and an added storyline in which the little boy has an innocent crush on a teenage girl in the neighborhood, but you have to add a few things to stretch a children's book into a movie.  It is about saving trees and the environment, but Dr. Seuss wrote a book that says, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not."  I was handed a bookmark thingy when I bought my ticket with that quote on it to drive the point home, and you can speculate at the timing given the current political discussions, but as a movie, it works.  It is beautiful to watch.  The animation is comfortably imaginative.  (It is not like so many animated movies that look almost real.  As you watch you say,  "Hey, that looks real--no not really," and your mind gets tired of trying to figure it out.)  Orange becomes the most appealing and exciting color you've ever seen.  So, whatever the motives of making The Lorax just now, your motivation can be to watch a fun movie.

If you want to compare the book to the movie, here is a link to a youtube reading of The Lorax that I find exceptional.  You get to hear the original story with all its Seussisms that are always so entertaining.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Carnegie Art Center

Friday, after a check-up at the dentist, I decided, since I was out, I should go by the Carnegie Art Center in downtown Leavenworth to see if I could volunteer.  I've been thinking about doing that for awhile, but it just seemed like it was the perfect time to run down there.  When I arrived, I discovered that they were busy getting ready for their biggest event of the year, the student art show.  If I could come back later that afternoon, they could use the help.  I showed up at about 4:15 pm and got assigned the food table.  I should have worn my tennis shoes, because I was "running" that table, and it was fun.  Not only was I trying to keep cookies and pizza on the table, but I had to do several runs to Dominoes to pick up fresh orders.  I think delivery is a good idea next year.  The best part was that many of "my" Primary children were in the art show, and I got to see them and talk to them about their work.  (I'm the Primary Children's Chorister at church.)  Being there reminded me that this kind of thing is completely off my radar screen since my children are gone.  I got a flashback to 1994, when Matthew won the PTA Reflections contest with his photo collage of people doing good deeds.  Just last year I was going to the school band, chorus and string concerts all in one week because Meredith participated in all three.  I was a little bit sad, but the very next day Meredith came home for spring break and showed me youtube videos, helped me go shopping and told me about the book she is reading about Queen Victoria.  So, everything is ok.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pears on a White Tablecloth

I finished one of my three paintings and posted it on rookiepainter.

Last night I went to a Kansas City Community College play, Design for Murder.  Thanks to my visiting teacher, Betty W., for inviting me to come along.  Hurray for producing a forgotten 1931 murder mystery that really had a bite to it.  The set was great.  And, a shout out to Danielle, Betty's daughter, who really was the star of the show.  I hope she becomes a force for good in the acting world.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Woman in Black

I know this has been out for awhile, but I just saw it last weekend.  I decided to go because my friend, April, gave it a thumbs up on facebook, and I think she makes her judgements on the right criteria; plus, my friend, Kathy, saw it on stage in London a few years ago and told me it was an unexpected great show.  I filed that away in my mind as something I might want to see.  Finally, I checked some reviews before I went and read this on Rotten Tomatoes:  Traditional to a fault, The Woman in Black foregoes gore for chills -- although it may not provide enough of them for viewers attuned to more modern, high-stakes horror.  It foregoes the gore, hmmmm, and it may not be what the Saw 17 crowd expects?!  It sounds like my kind of horror film.  I wasn't disappointed.  It was Edgar Allen Poe rather than Freddy Krueger.  It was slow and haunting, but because I really did not know what would happen next, I was in a constant state of chills, goosebumps and hair on end--but I could keep my eyes open.  Well done.

I've started three paintings this week.  Each are in a state of not done, but it has been fun to work on them all at once.

Monday, March 5, 2012


My son, Joseph, is spending his spring break taking an additional class
at Penn Law.  For the class, he is working with the Make-A-Wish
Foundation to raise money for a little girl, Sophia, who has leukemia.
 Sophia is five years old and lives just outside Philadelphia in the
Bensalem area.  Her wish is to go on a trip to Disney World.

Joseph and the team he's working with to raise money for Sophia, have
until 10 PM on this Thursday to raise $5,000.  He has asked me forward
this request to donate any amount that you are able to.  If you are
able to donate, and feel so moved, you can go to this website:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Women's Conference

Yesterday I attended our Stake Women's Conference, and since I have been away for the month of February, I had no idea what was on the program.  When I walked in and saw the poster in the doorway I stopped in my tracks.  The guest speaker was Michael Albrechtsen, the artist who painted the mural for the Kansas City Temple, to be dedicated on May 6.  Then I had the moment of relief--What if I had not come?  He could not tell us too much about the mural itself, because it would have hit the blogosphere before the afternoon, and, understandably, guests need to experience it first at the open house.  The two things that most impressed me from his presentation are,

1.  After he got the commission to do the mural, Bro. Albrechtsen thought that the church would keep close tabs on him and his work to see that he was meeting expectations, but that was not the case.  He was told to pray about what should go in the painting and follow the inspiration that came.  They never checked up on him.  I learned that spiritual preparation and devotion bring freedom.

2.  He showed us some other landscapes he has done and how he puts religious symbolism in them.  One in particular, The Heaven's Three Degrees of Glory, (You can see it on his website under "Religious Paintings.")  uses snow to represent the Degrees of Glory.  That painting hangs in the Finland Temple.  As I read scriptures, I'm going to start paying close attention to the use of nature to represent spiritual things.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kiwi in an Evening

Yesterday evening I decided to start the next paint and draw together challenge, and I was finished in no time.  I think it means that painting is the means to learning to paint.  I still want to take a class if I can find one.  I did not go renew my license today even though I feel better.  Surely, I'll get it done tomorrow.