Monday, August 18, 2014

Thinking of dad today...

11 years ago today my one and only left this earth...and I wanted to take some time today, as I do often, to look at pictures and remember all the neat things about him.

Although I've never met anyone alive today that is quite like my dad...I've found particular traits of his in others here and there, and certainly complimentary greatness in my husband!  We all possess good and not-so-good traits, and I like to try and keep the good and shuck the rest...when we bring the bad parts of people into the present and let it sit with us at every meal, that's our own fault.

Anyway, my handsome dad was a total hipster and very active and athletic for someone who had polio as a child!  And look at those white pants.  He was always riding motorcycles and bicycles...pulling weeds, mowing grass...swimming, playing tennis...not to mention his very physical jobs throughout life.  He was a dancer, Ice Capades skater, stagehand.  No computers for this man...he could certainly turn a wrench and one of the greatest things he taught me was to love work and to get things done every day.  Although I didn't love it at the time, I see it as a gift now!

Another thing that was awesome about my dad was he was *almost* always smiling, especially when he was up to something!  He would even smile when you would wake him up.  The only time he wasn't smiling was when he was concentrating or upset at someone.  Sometimes that was me and well, that was probably my fault! 

Always the life of the party!  A real extrovert and entertainer, he loved to make people laugh and was always making funny faces and strange noises...and boy could he "strike a pose"!  A showman his entire life.  When I was a kid, he would have his nightly "tea and ice cream"...he would jump around with excitement and do all sorts of ballet moves, namely a pirouette, which he would then end facing you in a perfect stance...and of course with a big proud smile which said, "See...this old man can still dance!"

Did I mention he made funny faces and was always up to something?  Oh yes, I did.  He was also a food lover and was always snacking on nuts, named Beer Nuts...remember those?!  Here he's downing a pizza with his brother...another really funny man, is humor genetic?   Speaking of genes, thank you dad, for your Cherokee olive skin which tans easily and doesn't burn...unless you fall asleep face down on a raft while floating on a nasty cattle pond, but hey...we're not really talking about me here today!  (yuk...I can't believe some of the things I used to do...)

Stepping out in the 70's with my mom...they were both stylin' to the max.  If it wasn't pre-cellular days here I would swear that mom is checking her phone for email, or playing Words with Friends!  And I'd pay big money to see her with that hairdo again...what do you think, mom?  Retro is in these days!

Handsome, and knew it!  And what a beard...he always had facial hair, not always a beard...but always a mustache.  The one time I saw him without one, I started crying because I didn't recognize him!

Hey dad...1974 called, they want their headband back!  What an animal lover, an animal "whisperer" if you will.  And wasps, what a master.  Have you ever seen anyone tie fabric around a hockey stick, douse it in kerosene and ignite a wasp nest with it?  I have....briefly, right before I would run screaming in the opposite direction!  When they would come off the nest (half barbequed) to get him he didn't run, he would start mumbling, scowling and swatting at them.  A true highlight of my childhood!

Champale, how vintage!  Another gift my parents gave me was, and this may sound funny, was the gift of having a drink now and then!  Alcohol was no big mystery, and I never felt like I needed to run off with friends and drink.  Especially when we had better stuff at home!

There are a million other things I could write about today...but this last pic reminds me that I have my own kids now, and they need me to spend time with them in the same way that my dad spent time with me.  I'm so fortunate to have had such a cool dad that took me everywhere he went, did fun things with me and kept me close to his life in all ways.   He gave me the gift of time well spent, and I plan to pass that on to my children.  I love you dad!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pen and Ink Trees...

When someone says to me..."Draw something...", the first thing that comes to mind is...trees.  (second place being tornadoes) So when the "pen and ink trees" theme came up as my monthly art group assignment, I already had in mind what I wanted to do and was able to execute it as planned!  How often does that happen?

I love trees...they're are a lot like people in many ways.  And I can, as I'm sure you can, find similarities between people in general, and specific loved ones.  In general, they're a living breathing entity that eventually dies.  The different types have their pro's and con's which I won't go into in great detail, but the sweet gum tree makes me think that even though it has all those spiky, annoying seed makes up for it with interesting leaves which are beautifully colored in the fall.

Sometimes everything lines up just right for a tree...location, nourishment, genetics (or epigenetics) and they live to be a ripe old age and people marvel at them!  Sometimes they get taken out as wee sprigs...whether through disease or catastrophe...or even as a casualty of our modern way of life.  There are a million similarities.  If I could compare myself to a tree or at least borrow some qualities, what kind of tree would I be?  Would I be strong and weather storms?  Could I shade and comfort those beneath me?   Do I bear sweet or bitter fruit?  Will someone..someday...decide to make a million toothpicks out of me?  I was getting too deep in here!

Anyway, these pages were a joy for me to do.  They started as simple watercolors which I allowed to dry and then flicked with water.  Ever set a glass of water on an inkjet print?  It makes an interesting painting, right?!  Same thing with watercolors.  To keep with my stitching theme, I sewed one edge closed with white thread, but I thought it would distract from the art to sew all the way around...this art was not about sewing, but pure, unadulterated...TREE!

I love painting trees in silhouette, but I wanted to do another with detailed tree bark and a clear shot of the silvery moon.  And why not give the moon a hug?  Trees get hugged all the time, but the moon...not so much!  The moon deserves a hug.

This tree was one that didn't make the cut.  It was my first "tree hugging the moon" sketch and it wasn't quite what I had in mind.  Plus, the watercolor paper was too "toothy" and didn't allow for good pen and ink action.  Alas, it will make a nice birthday card for someone. 

This month's theme is collage and envelopes...two more things I love!  My art group picked lovely themes this year and I'm pleased as punch that I've had the good fortune to be able to tackle (and enjoy) doing the projects with everything that I've got going on right now.  Some days I can barely keep pants on my toddler....ya know?!

Today while my sugar blossoms are snoozing, I'm hoping to take the quiet time to step outside and play with...fabric....vinegar....steel wool.  Pictures coming soon!