Merry Christmas & Welcome 2006!

Quick post this morning before the holiday madness begins and ends almost at the same time! Both my daughters are home. One from Savannah, GA and the youngest from Univ. of Illinois Chicago. We're off to my in-laws today in Rockford, IL for their traditional Christmas Eve festivities. Right now I'm roasting the vegetables for the feast. Tomorrow we are off to my side of the family in Byron, IL. My sister Jean, is this year's hostess! I'm bringing an Artichoke and Mushroom Lasagna. My Georgia daughter, Erin, is "almost" a vegetarian! So, it's nice to have a tasty option to my sister's Shrimp Boil! I have to get back in the kitchen, but first, I think I'll pop in my "It's a Wonderful Life" dvd and catch a few key scenes to get into the proper holiday mood!

Good Two Days!

Sold two, count 'em two, paintings in TWO days. Merry Christmas. What a surprise since I haven't been painting much. It seems I have a slow month or two and then bingo! .... pay dirt. Below are pics of the two oils that sold. I really will miss the daylillies in particular. These are of my neighbor's back yard and I always enjoy doing her gardens. Well, I guess it's time to start some new ones....once spring comes. Click on pics to get larger view!

Some views of the "Stained Glass" project

Here is a picture of the "stained glass" holiday projects that were completed on Monday by the 5th and 6th grade classes at Reagan Middle School in Dixon. Debbie Thompson is their able-bodied teacher. Mike McNamara was the guest artist and I got to be the guest-guest artist! The projects are hanging in the school library windows, just after a new coating of snow.

Debbie and I hope to do another mural with some of the kids at KSB Hospital in Dixon. We did a stairwell at the hospital this past January. It was called happy houses! The kids did a drawing of their idea of happy houses and we took several of them and enlarged them in the stairwell. The next day Debbie and I and four or five of the kids painted them. They are very bright and colorful. The hospital is trying to encourage their employees to use the stairs (for health reasons) instead of elevators.

Finally! A day at the easel.

I blew off the restaurant today and went to my studio and got in almost 8 hours of painting. The gallery/studio is closed to the public on Mondays, so I knew I could get stuff done. I worked on a 30"x40" oil (below) of Twilight Dining. I started this a couple of months ago and still am not quite finished. I started getting bored, so I started a new one. It's a 30" x 24" oil of a barn at the edge of our village. I kept this one really clean and simple. In fact, I completed it. I think. When I get a chance to go back to the studio again, I might take another swipe at it. The picture was taken quickly of these paintings and do not quite accurately represent the color.

I feel much better now. It's like finally sneezing after a lot of false starts!

Fun Day in Middle School

It was a fun, busy day working with Mike, Debbie, and all 6 classes of 5th and 6th graders. The kids designed a (mostly) Christmas themed stained glass window as a gift to either their parents or other family member. ACE hardware of Dixon donated all the plexiglass and Deb received a grant for the framing materials, window paints, and leading stuff. Mike stayed up until 5:30 this morning staining all the wood used for the framing. He is the head Elf and cuts the wood to fit each odd-size piece of plexiglass. I am 2nd Elf, in charge of drilling and nailing all the frames together. Debbie is the head mamacita in charge of threading the frames so they can be hung. We all are artists and friends and had a blast teasing each other with side-jokes that the kids hadn't a clue on what we were talking about. Tomorrow is another day of framing and possibly Monday too.

I got home around 3 p.m. and worked in the restaurant for awhile. It's gift certificate season and we make customized certificates for those who call ahead. There must have been 20 that needed to be done, not counting the ones for people who walked in unannouced. Oh's free money until people use them!

Well...gotta get back to the laundry. It sure piles up and there are only two people living here!

Starting new project today

Well, I'm back at the local middle school for today and tomorrow as an "assistant" guest artist. Ha! Debbie, the 5th & 6th grade art teacher secured another grant for a stained glass project with official guest artist Mike MacNamara. He's a wonderful sculptor in his own right (and lives right down the block from me in Grand Detour). I will provide assistance with Mike and the kids in getting all their projects completed and framed for hanging. I was able to assist last year and had a blast. I will try to get pictures of the project and publish those later.

It is so cooooollllldddd today. It's about 5 degrees right now. So much of wearing something cute to school. A volleyball sweatshirt, jeans, and boots is where it's at for this weather.

Sold a painting!

God, it's been a long time since posting. I've been so busy with the restaurant, inn, and family holiday stuff, that my painting time has been put on the very back burner! But, after 12 years in the restaurant business, that's the way it goes during the holiday season. The only creative things I have been doing is doing the gallery's (TNPS) design work for their postcards for upcoming shows, updating (and redesigning their website), and also updating my own website. That will have to do for now.

The director the gallery emailed me and said one of my miniature paintings sold! Wooohoooo! Pays for a couple of Christmas gifts. My husband and I are going into town to purchase a big live tree for the front parlor of the inn this afternoon. We'll swing by TNPS and pick up a check. My daughter, Erin, is home from Savannah, GA for a few days. She graduated this past May from Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) with a degree in Illustration. I wish we had more time to visit, but with Thanksgiving and hosting both sides of the family (35 people), it's been a lot of running around and commotion. She's moving back here in the middle to December and will be looking for work in her field. My youngest daughter, Morgan, is home from University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) also. She's going back today...finals coming up next week. Never a dull moment at our house.

My friend, Debbie, and I are looking at workshops to go to. It's hard to find art workshops in the winter that works around both of our schedules. She's a teacher and people will notice if she doesn't show up to work!

Have a great holiday season!

Miniature Pear Painting

I finished this 5" x 7" miniature of yes, another pear painting from the kids' workshop. I think it's time to move on to another piece of fruit! I ordered a frame today and maybe it will be in by this Friday....we'll see. Time to clean up the studio. It's Halloween and I don't have any candy yet.

My art studio and stuff

A couple of quick is a view into my studio space that I rent at The Next Picture Show art gallery in Dixon. In fact, once I'm done getting this post published, I will be on my way there to frame some stuff, finish a new miniature, start a new painting, and then straighten the place up. The gallery is having their HOLIDAY ART SHOW opening this coming Friday, 11/4 and since my space is on the main level, no doors.... I need to snazz it up a bit.

The other pictures is one of my acr
ylic studies of the Pear Still Lifes that I demostrated from when I did the painting workshop a few weeks ago at Reagan Middles School. I had to start 6 paintings in one day and work on each of them for the corresponding class. So, each of them were only 1/2 done. This picture is one that seemed most completed and last Monday I went and finished it. The size is 14" x 14".

High School Art Class job done

Here are two pictures of the "almost" finished acrylic still lifes that these great Dixon, IL high school art students did. (CLICK on pics to see a larger version) Most of them will be finished within one or two more class periods. I hoped to get more pictures, but I was so busy demonstrating and helping students with their work, that I didn't realize class was over before grabbing my camera. The class is only around 40 minutes (including set up and clean up). Another thing is that the class only had the basic, blue, yellow, and white paints. I don't use black (a disappointment to a few students, I'm sure). I hope the kids got as much out of this as I did. It's hard to tell. Teenagers are a different breed compared to 5th and 6th graders! Shout out to Peg Miller, their teacher, for giving me this opportunity!

I've mastered something new!

This morning I figured out how to add a subscription form to my blog. I navigated through the HTML code about 75 times before it landed in the right place on my page. So, if any of you want to get a small, 20 character email (the beginning of any new post to my blog), go ahead and subscribe. A company called BLOGLET will then send you a note with a password and info on how to finish the subscription. I did a test subscription to our inn website, got the wierd numerical password, pasted it in the bloglet subscription area, then I went to MY PROFILE and changed that wierd password to one I always use.

Frames for Miniature Paintings are in

Here are the two miniature paintings with their frames and linen liners. Sorry about the pic quality as to skewing. Tried to straighten them up a bit, but you can only do so much. I'll be selling these for $125 at the Holiday Art Show coming up on 11/4 at the gallery. Still working on others, but now I have to go to the inn and work on their website and clean a room. We have someone checking in tonight -- on a Tuesday! Can you believe it?

All in a day's Work

After working with the high school students....I decided to add another day to help them with their paintings. The class was huge -- 30 students all packed in. It was hard for many of them to see the still life set up at the front of the room. So, I took some pics from different parts of the room and emailed them to Peg, their teacher. She'll print them off and give to the kids in the back of the room so they don't have to spend so much time straining to get stuff done. I'm going to come in on Thursday. Unfortunately, we have b&b guests in the morning. Guess Jeff will be flying solo!

Had a fundraising committee meeting at the gallery today. We're trying to find ways to help fund this non-profit art center. We are all kind of new at this and so, we do a lot of stuff by the seat of our pants!

Oh, I got the frames for my miniature paintings. They look very nice. I'll upload a picture tomorrow of the finished pieces. Crap, Jeff just turned off Two and a Half men to watch the Cardinals. Go White Sox!

Painting Class today...this time it's high school

Boy is it early (6:19 a.m.) . I am so NOT a morning person. Today will be rather busy. I have to be at Dixon High School to assist in the instruction of acrylic painting with some juniors and seniors by 2nd period. Since I can't quite figure out what I am doing, I'm going in early to get the lowdown from their art teacher, Peg Miller. I know it's a still life, but I don't know if they already have something to work from or are they all to work from something I bring. Anyway, it should go well since it's only one class and these kids want to be there -- instead of having to be there. After that I have a couple of meetings to go to. I'll post later on the class and how it went.

Go White Sox!

Miniature Paintings 'R Us!

I got to work at the gallery for a bit this week. Debbie and I worked at my studio on Monday, 10/10. She finished a landscape and I finished another miniature. Shown here. It's called Bev's Garden Path and it's only 5" x 7". I am trying to get a few more done before the 11/4 opening of the gallery's Holiday Art Show. I've already ordered two frames (with linen liners) for the two completed oil miniatures. So, now that I've done that, today I added a new "MINIATURES" page to my website.

Well, gotta run.

Long Week coming to an End.

It's Saturday about 3:15 p.m. I'm sitting watch over the inn & restaurant right now. Just waiting for my last room to check-in and the restaurant staff to start coming in. Jeff is participating in the Harvest Wine Festival in Dixon from 4 - 8 pm. First time for this event. Wonder how it will go.

Wanted to paint sometime on Sunday or Monday. But Jeff is participating in a Rib Cooking Contest in town for a Breast Cancer fundraiser. He's a busy boy this week...which means little time for art.

Tomorrow in our area's Sunday Edition of the paper, there will be a big article about the work Debbie
and I did with the kids at Reagan Middle School. Kind of nervous. I never take a good picture. Deb and I saw the photographer who did the shots at the Y on Thursday and he said they came out great...we'll see. I am enclosing a picture of a painting one the the students did. Not bad, huh?!

Thursday I went to the studio and worked some more on my big oil and piddled around with another little 5 x 7 oil. Those are kind of fun. I might do a bunch of them for the holidays and see how they sell. Tomorrow, when I get a few minutes, I'll upload a couple shots of both works in progress.

I must run. My last guests are walking in the door. Boy, these 16 hour days are for the birds.

Stage Painting Done...on to new projects.

This past Sunday I finished work on the stage painting for "South Pacific." I had two people from the Mt. Morris PAG helping this time...which was really nice. I had dinner plans and it was great getting home before 6 p.m. and another rain storm. The weather has been wierd all summer and now fall. Today it was 85 degrees and it's supposed to be even warmer tomorrow. By Thursday it is predicted to be 58 degrees. That can't be good.

I've included pics of the stage. It's around 90% finished -- the painting that is. They are still building other sets like volcanoes, huts, and the like!

Tomorrow is the Phidian fall luncheon. The Phidian Art Club is an women's arts group dating to the 1890's. It's nice being 47 years old and one of the youngest members. That doesn't happen much anymore!

After a morning meeting at the gallery regarding finalizing the membership brochure, I stayed at my studio until almost 4 p.m. working on new oil painting. It's 40" x 30" and is a study of some customers dining at twilight in our restaurant. This painting is about 75% done. I was really starting to get into this when I realized I needed to get home. Hope to be able to find time for this soon.

Pictures of Kids' Art Classes.

Here are a couple of pictures from the last day at Reagan Middle School's painting workshop with the 5th and 6th graders. To the left is me putting the finishing touches on one of the acrylic still lifes. The kids did great... The 2nd shot shows another class with a different still life. There were about 25-28 kids in each of the six classes. Teaching these classes really taught me a lot also. For one teachers work their butts off. They have to keep moving at all times and making sure that no loaded paint brush ends up on someone else's property! All of the kids in Debbie's classes were very, very good. It's a true testiment to her teaching abilities. Just the LOOK and tone in her voice was all that was needed when things started to get out of control at times! The 3rd picture is a couple of proud artists from one of the morning classes. There are a few more pictures on my web site. It's in my Upcoming Events section.

Art Class all done!

Today was the 3rd and final day of working with 5th and 6th graders (6 classes of 25-28 kids) each day. What a rush! Actually, Debbie Thompson, (their art teacher) and I are very proud of the kids. They have never done anything like this and neither have we! You should have seen how many rolls of paper towels and coated paper plates (palettes) we went through. The local paper and photographer also were there. Lots of people stopped by during the 3 days. Kind of like boot camp for art instruction. We'll take the best of each class and then the local art gallery, The Next Picture Show, in Dixon, Illinois will display them for the public to see. Cool huh? I have lots of pictures, but at this point it means I have to get off my butt and walk all the way into the kitchen and get my camera and then download the pics. I have absolutely no energy for that right now. After the last class and a bite to eat, I went back to Dixon for my body sculpting class (with Debbie). If she wasn't going to be there, no way would I have done it. But I'm glad I did. Leg lifts, squats and that wierd big takes your mind off how tired you are. Now, it's decompression time. I'll put some more pictures up in a day or so. Toodles.

Two Days...Two Kinds of Art!

The last 2 days have been very interesting. Sunday I spent my second evening helping a local community theatre guild paint the background scene for their stage (South Pacific). They had a professional set sketch and I am to get it on the backdrop in a painterly manner. I have one more Sunday to go. It's been different, but I'm glad I did it. Never have done anything like this before and now I know I can. The picture to the left is after my 1st day and the pic to the right is after my 2nd day. Click on any of these pictures to get a larger view.

Today was the first of 3 days as Guest Artist for the 5/6th grade art classes at Reagan Middle School in Dixon. Debbie Thompson, their teacher and my buddy, got a grant for this type of activity, so they get me AND I get paid. I arranged 3 different still lifes, uploaded it to Deb, then she got it loaded on to her computer at school and we projected 3 different large, simple pear still lifes for 6 classes....yes, 6 classes. Day 1 is done and I AM POOPED. I had to start a new canvas every 55 minutes. So, I did 6 canvases today. We hope to finish with the kids by Thursday. The press will be there and God, I hope we have stuff to show them.