Friday, June 27, 2008

Through The LaSalle Hotel Coffee Shop Window

Texas Reds Festival
View Through LaSalle Hotel Coffee Shop Window
8.5" x 11"
This is another sketch from the 19th World Wide Sketch Crawl last Saturday. The Texas Reds Festival was getting off to a big start when we started our crawl in downtown Bryan.
This was the view looking out the LaSalle Hotel coffee shop window, where Pat and I sat at a table cooled off a bit. This wasn't all of the festival, by any means. It was merely the view that I could see through the window beside our table. The whole downtown area was involved.
There was a long tent that started in front of us, then went down the street toward the Palace Theatre. A long, covered table held some kind of goods. I really couldn't see what it was, though. I'm not sure if it was food, drinks, or wares that vendors were selling. There were children, and one had a balloon that floated toward the top of the tent. People were strolling by, looking, while workers pulled out things from boxes under the tables, and arranged them on the table.
As we left the coffee shop, to go look for the George Bush 4141 locomotive behind the Carnegie Library, a man, pushing a stroller with a small child in it, was stooping to pick up his wine glass and the shards of glass left when it was dropped and broke on the concrete sidewalk. In my drawing, I just showed the glass, with a little wine still in it, on the sidewalk.
Now that the Texas Reds Festival is over, people are looking forward to next year. The event seemed to be a big success with lots of good food, activities and entertainment, drinks, and things to look at- and attendance was good.
And we look forward to the next Sketch Crawl. Maybe in September? The date hasn't been set, yet.
My sister and I are planning a mini-sketch crawl, on our own, in Calvert, tomorrow, for a little while.
Take a look at the Sketch Crawl site to see some of the work that has been submitted from around the world. Robin Cheers has posted some of her sketches from the beach on her blog. She was on vacation, but participated in the crawl. You can find links to the Sketch Crawl and to Robin Cheers' blog on my sidebar.
Wishing you good sketching, painting, swimming, golf, tennis, barbequeing, picnicing, or whatever makes you happy this weekend. To borrow from Marvin Zindler.
Here's a site that some of you may enjoy. If you like to use the computer to play with color and design, take a look at
If you are interested in genealogy, there is a new pilot program that might be of interest to you. It is through the LDS Family Search site. You can go to their site and click on a link in the upper right hand corner that says Pilot Program, and that will lead you to a page where you can search. Or you can go to
Since it is a pilot program, it is not available all the time. There are times when they are working on it.
Also, all the records are not there, yet. They are asking for people who are willling to help them transcribe. That information is available on their site.
It seems to be a wonderful project! I found a lot on there, and have barely scratched the surface.
I started out looking for Texas Death Records, but, soon, found that there were other things there, including some census records, passenger lists, and a few marriage records. There are more states than Texas, too.
This is going to be such a valuable tool for those researching their family history.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sketch Crawl Yesterday

Here are some of my sketches from the Sketch Crawl in downtown Bryan yesterday. There was a lot going on that I would have liked to have seen during the Texas Reds Festival, but the heat just got to be too much.
It took us forever, it seemed, to get to the Frame Gallery because of the streets being blocked off. More than had been planned, we learned. We ended up with my daughter dropping me off and I had to carry my chair, art supplies, and purse to the gallery.
Pat met me at the Frame Gallery after 9 a.m. After a little visit with Pat, Greta, the owner, and Sarah, her beautiful dog, we decided to venture on toward the LaSalle Hotel, where we hoped that others interested in sketching might meet us.
Walking a couple of blocks doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but you must understand that Pat has trouble walking, and I need a new pair of knees, and can't see worth a hoot from a distance due to wet Macular Degeneration and cataracts.
We put my things in her car, which she had parked before the baricades went up, and drove, as we had been directed, thinking we would find close by handicapped parking. We were told that a shuttle or tram would pick us up and take us to where we needed to go.
Since every street had barricades, we drove around the west, south, and finally on the east side of town, we found one volunteer who would move the barricade and showed us where handicapped parking was supposed to be. We found it at the BTU building, and walked to the street to wait for a shuttle. We saw people who were walking with someone in their party who had an electric cart or chair to ride around in. We asked a volunteer about the tram, since it was getting hot even under the shade of a small tree. They had not seen one all morning and didn't think there was a tram. They explained that parking was across town at Blinn college, and buses could be ridden to the festival. That wouldn't have helped us.
Beside the BTU building, a fire truck was parked and a first aid tent was set up. They had golf carts to ride in with their medical supplies. The volunteer asked the EMTs to take us to the LaSalle Hotel in one of their carts. So Pat rode on the back seat, and I rode up front with a very nice young EMT. They explained that, when we got ready to leave, we could ask a volunteer to call them and they would come back and pick us up. They took us to the LaSalle courtyard and we found the coffee shop.,Pat could get her coffee and we could cool off, while looking for other crawlers. We didn't see anyone else who looked like they might be ready to sketch, and, by that time, we were just ready to sit somewhere and cool off!
We sat by a big window of the lovely restored hotel. Outside the window was a long tent with various food items. Behind the hotel, there was smoke from the grills for the cook off. Further down the sidewalk at the Palace Theatre, a stage was set up and there was music playing. Directly across the street at the Carnegie Library, a stage had been set up with bales of hay for seats. The big grape stomp would take place there later.
We took a few photos with Pat's camera. When those come back, I'll post some to show where we were for the crawl.
I did a sketch of the street where we finally got through the barricade and called it "You Can't Get There From Here". I also sketched the area by the door, across from me, in the hotel. By this time, it was already 11:30.
We walked over to the Carnegie to see the George Bush engine, 4141, that was parked on the tracks between the Carnegie and the Bryan city library. There is a shaded area with a little garden between the Masonic Lodge, with a barber shop downstairs, and the Carnegie Library. Concrete seats and low walls provide a nice place to sit among shrubs and pink and white Crepe Myrtles. I thought that this would be a nice place to work, so we picked out a bench with a good view of the engine and the Library and the Childrens Museum, the old City Hall. All kinds of activities were going on in the area of the library and the museum with a rock climbing wall, something to do with bungee cords, etc. Inside the library, there were programs like the chemistry road show. And we could hear music from performers in that area, too.
I pulled out my sketching things and started to draw 4141 among the Crepe Myrtles while Pat decided to take pictures. The heat was bothering her a lot. Roaming mascots like the HEB bag of groceries and a baseball, the mascot for our new baseball team, the Bombers, stopped to have their pictures taken. A very nice young police officer stopped to see what we were doing. I explained about the sketch crawl and gave him information to pass on. As he left, he shook our hands. We all laughed as he said that we had now shaken hands with Buck Rogers. Sure enough, his name was B. Rogers. I wonder if he got teased about that, or if people expected superhero level things of him, when he was growing up.
Pat took a couple of pictures of the back of the library, with a blossom of Crepe Myrtle hanging down, the train, the mascots, etc. I got enough of the train drawn as a sketch so that I can do more with it later. And we agreed that we needed to go somewhere and cool off. I wasn't sure about a restaurant where we could sit down and draw and cool off. I'm sure there was something, but, with my blurry vision, I couldn't find a sign, and, too, the tents in the middle of the street were blocking my view.
We went back to the LaSalle coffee shop and asked a volunteer to call the Fire Department to take us back to the car. They did and the Fire chief arrived in his little golf cart. A young woman was also there with one of those gator things, a golf cart with a pickup bed on the back. Pat rode with the chief since his vehicle had a top and more shade, and I rode with the very nice young woman. There was some discussion between the hotel people and the city people about who was supposed to be providing tram or shuttle service between the handicapped parking and the festival.
We got back to a very hot car, and thought of where we might go. I told Pat to just head down Texas Avenue, and we should see a sign of some place. Whataburger seemed close and had a big sign, so that is where we stopped. We told them that they were lifesavers! Pat had lemonade and I had a sprite. But, what I really wanted to do was to sketch some more.
So, I sketched Buck Rogers, since that was a fun memory. And the cup with the wonderful cold drink!
We decided to go home, and, I thought that I might go out and sketch some around where I live, after it cooled off, later. Pat brought me home and I decided to just sit in the cool and scan my drawings and darken them a bit. You can tell something about our day from my sketches. The scan of 4141 didn't work out so well, though. The paper was too big for the scanner. I guess it let light in, or something. As a result, it has a green tinge on one side of the paper.
It never did get cool, though. When it got dark, it was still 94. I learned on the news that it reached 99, which, of course, gave us a heat index of over 100. Pretty hot, but, as long as there was shade and a little breeze, and something cold to drink, I was okay with it.
I looked at some of the posts on Sketch Crawl as people have been posting their results. When I last checked, there were posts from 12 different countries and 16 states in the U.S. There is some very nice work, much of it much more finished than mine.
I estimate that I must have spent maybe an hour or so actually drawing, but I did get some things down that I could do more from later. It was all pretty quickly and loosely done.
Sweden had some nice work and photos, and it seemed like a great place to be that day. It was cool there!
Barbara sent word that she, Lynn, and Virginia Vaughan were among those doing art during the Sketch Crawl. Virginia did a workshop in Rockport on that day, so they painted the Cove, and trees, the sunrise, etc. You can read her comment under my last post.
I haven't heard if anyone else in this area was doing the sketch crawl.
If you want to be involved in the next one, you can go to the Sketch Crawl website and get more information, register for your area, if you want to. If you are in this area and want to participate, that will be great. We can work as a group, or you can work on your own, start your own group, or whatever you want to do.
I just think that there are an awful lot of things out there that need to be recorded through art.
I sent out information to area newspapers, and Greta was on "Brazos Arts" on KAMUfm, talking about it. I only saw it used in a couple of calendars. And, just try to send anything to the local paper or tv station by e-mail. Doesn't seem to work very well. Boxes are full, e-mails bounce, or there are no sections online where things I am interested in can be found. Online is best for me, these days, since I can't drive, and gas and things like stamps have gone up so much. I guess that I should have just mailed out press releases.
Maybe next time.
The next sketch crawl should be in 2 or 3 months. That would make it August or September.
I would love to hear if you participated in the Sketch Crawl where ever you are! And, if you are in a surrounding area, I would be thrilled if you would start a group in your town or city, to help Draw the Brazos Valley.
To do the sketches above, I used pencil, on the train engine, on watercolor paper. The others were all done on sketching paper using a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen, superfine. I really like the way that pen works, and it is a permanent india ink pen. They come in a variety of sizes.
Happy sketching, or whatever it is that you love to do. Get ready for a super week to come!
Please sign my guest book at the bottom of the page, if you haven't already. And check out my group, Art-By-Cecelia.
If you see something of interest, let me know. Click on the Contact link.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sketch Crawl Today

Brazos Bankful
8.5" x 11"
This is it. The day when we all need to be out drawing things around us-all over the world. The 19th World Wide Sketch Crawl has arrived.
Here's the plan for Bryan:
Meet at the Frame Gallery in downtown Bryan about 8:30 or 9:00. Sign in there so we will know who is participating.
Those who need coffee and may want to get together as a group, might meet at the LaSalle Hotel. There, people can decide where they want to work.
Spend the morning and afternoon sketching. Some may want to stay in downtown Bryan where the Texas Reds Festival will be going on. Others may want to spread out in other areas of Bryan/College Station, or across the Brazos Valley.
At the end of the day, those who want to may like to meet back at the Frame Gallery to discuss experiences and share their work. Since entertainment will be going on, some people may like to stay on and sketch the rest of the Festival.
In Calvert, people can meet at Mud Creek Pottery to check in and decide where to work for the day. They could meet back there at the end of the day to share what they have done during the day.
I'm anxious to do some work, and to see what everyone else sketches tomorrow. Hope that everyone has fun tomorrow.
I tried to get the word out to others in our area through press releases to newspapers and tv while Greta Watkins appeared on "Brazos Arts" on KAMU fm radio.
Hopefully, the weather will be beautiful and everyone will have an enjoyable and productive day.
The sketch above is one that I did last year while we were going for a drive in the area of the Brazos Bottom. The Brazos River was full to the top of the banks and there was concern about flooding. It didn't flood at that time, though.
So far, this year, it is hot and getting really dry here. Thankfully, we have not had the bad flooding in this area like they are having in the Midwest, since they built the dam on the Brazos at Waco. We did have one bad flood back in the spring of -04, but that was more localized after around 20 inches of rain-15 of those in about 3 hours time. A couple of earthen dams broke, which made things worse. I hope that we never have those kind of problems again. And I am really sorry for what is happening to the people and the land to the north.
The above sketch is a plan that can be used in something more finished later.
Get out your sketching things and join us in drawing something today!
And if you are near downtown Bryan, enjoy the big steak and wine festival. I was hoping to see Big Otis who is one of the performers, but I realized as we were eating supper, that he was appearing on Friday night, not Saturday. But there will be lots of other things going on.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Time To Plant

Grandma's Backyard
Ft. Worth
8.5" x 11"
According to the Moon Phases in my sidebar, there is a full moon. That means that it is time to plant, according to what I remember "Toot" telling me. Yet, I hear the news people say that it is too late to replant the crops that were destroyed by the floods in the Midwest. Here, it may be getting too hot. I really don't know.
My "gardening" seems to work like this. Throw something out in the yard. It may grow, or the birds, deer, or ants might eat it. We actually did plant some things that have thrived over the years, Crepe Myrtles, several rose bushes, a Mimosa tree, and a couple of Lantana plants. One small place with Day Lilies keeps coming back. But, the gorgeous Hibiscus plants that I once had didn't make it. They were huge, with blossoms the size of dinner plates. But, one morning, I went outside and there wasn't a trace that there had ever been a plant there. I don't know what happened to them. I would say that a deer ate them, but there wasn't even a little hole where the stem came out of the ground.
One year, I threw the old still life materials I had from my fall arrangement that my students had been drawing, out by a fence. Was I surprised when I had corn growing and vines of gourds that covered a fence. The gourds came back until we removed the fence.
With rapidly rising gas and food prices, along with everything else, and we hear that people are needing to grow some of their own food, I feel like we should plant something. We have room for a big garden in back, but, between fire ants and critters, and no one who wants to get outside and work , that is not going to happen.
Several years ago, I bought a few packages of seeds. I thought that I might plant something, when the moon is full, or on Good Friday. But, those days always slip past and I forget about it. I've even saved egg cartons to start some plants. I thought of starting seeds in the egg cartons, then transferring them to flower pots, or even the plastic ice cream buckets that I have been saving.
We tried to have plants in our windows and indoors, but the fire ants found them, and the plants had to go outside with some ant poison. By then, the plants were about dead. The last plants we had indoors were seeds that my grandson's teacher had sent home for the kids to plant. Our plant grew and my grandson was working on his project. However, it soon had mildew on it and we threw it in the trash.
During the War, (WWII), we had a Victory Garden in our back yard in Calvert. A lot of people grew something, and still had cows, chickens, etc. at their homes. Even people who had grocery stores. One year, my dad had someone plow the middle of our back yard to make a garden area and I was to plant it and take care of it. I actually had some very small lettuce, some small potatoes, and lots of carrots! The lot was higher on the north side, toward the front of the house, and sloped back to the street behind us. So our Victory Garden did very well on the north side where it drained. But the rains kept the south end of the garden underwater. We didn't get anything from that side.
Grandma and Grandpa Miles moved from their farm in Navarro county to Ft. Worth about the time of the War. They lived in a small apartment in Victory Village, housing for Air Force families and workers at the aircraft plant. After the war, they bought a little house in the new housing that was springing up.
Most people who bought the little houses, were planting some trees and fixing up their back yards for children to play or for entertaining. But not Grandma. In the spring, Grandpa had someone come plow up all of the back yard, except for a strip around the edge of the yard. Grandma planted her garden and spent every morning out chopping and tending her garden.
In the summer and fall, she would have fresh things to eat, and spent time canning and preserving for the winter.
In the drawing above, I was remembering Grandma, with her hoe, out working in her backyard garden, until almost noon, when it started to get too hot. Then it was time to come in and cook dinner. And after that, she and Grandpa just sat in their room, in the sweltering heat. I wrote about that in an older post.
She always wore her sunbonnet out in the yard, with long sleeves and those separate sleeves that ladies wore to protect their arms from the sun. Her cotton dresses were simple, sometimes with a little lace trim, rick rack, or tucks for decoration, and always with a somewhat long skirt. She wore cotton stockings and her yard shoes, galoshes, if it were wet outside.
Grandpa is shown standing at the back of the yard, pointing out things to my sister. To one side, my friend, Eddie Grace, and I are standing, talking, probably about movies and movie stars, or boys.
Grandma would show us how to pick various things in the garden and how to know if it was ready to be picked. But we had to be very careful, in case we might do something that would harm the plants or disturb the garden.
We could go sit on the back steps in the afternoon when the house made a little shade, or walk on the grass around the garden. But we knew to stay out of that garden unless Grandma or Grandpa were supervising.
Remember that, in those days, there was no air conditioning, and even fans were rare. So, we looked for shade and a bit of breeze.
Wish I could plant a seed and grow the things that I seem to eat most. Potatos and potato chips, M&Ms, ice cream, chicken, tomato soup, bran flakes. And even gasoline! And in that line of thinking, I'd like to be able to grow a money tree, too. Pure fantasy, just like a garden in my yard would be.
Seriously, though. The rising prices for everything are really scarey. It makes my head swim to try to think of how this has happened. I always thought it was a shame that we have so many huge grocery stores, packed with food. There aren't that many people to buy all that food. And in other parts of the world, people have so little and are starving. So, what happens to all this left over food? But, now, we are hearing of looming food shortages and higher prices. I don't know how much more some people can cut back on things.
Glen Beck, on tv and radio, has been urging people to stock up on food and necessities. He predicts that it is only going to get worse. We may need to all take a cue from Grandma Miles and plant a backyard garden. I'm sure that we would starve, if we had to depend on my gardening. Being a picky eater, I probably wouldn't eat what I could grow anyway.
Saturday June 21
19th World Wide Sketch Crawl
Click on the Sketch Crawl logo at the top of my page, for more information . I hope that everyone will join in and draw their surroundings on Saturday.
Downtown Bryan
Texas Reds Festival
Friday Evening and Saturday
I have a link to the festival below the Sketch Crawl links. Sounds like a lot of fun, and that will give Bryan sketchers even more things to draw. The 4141 locomotive is going to be parked and there will be lots of food, activity, and entertainment.
Please share this with anyone who might be interested.
Let me know if you see something that particularly appeals to you. I appreciate your support and your comments. Most of the work is for sale. Click the contact button and let me know if you are interested in one of my creations.
Thank you to all who have signed my Guest Book and who have joined my group.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Indianola Courthouse at Sunset
Family Photo
We don't really observe Father's Day in our family anymore. The fathers all seem to have died. I don't recall that we ever celebrated that day very much. We would get the fathers a card, and a gift like pajamas or a tie. Sometimes we would make something, which really wasn't appreciated. Gifts were taken, with thanks, then put away in a drawer to save for the possibility that they might have to go to the hospital, or if they happened to run out of their closet full of ties.
We often had our special meal of red roast and red gravy, with some of the men being served their favorite, fried oysters and oyster stew, with crackers. Most of the ladies and the children were not going to eat that!
Of course, there was church before that Sunday Father's Day meal.
We had a lot of men in our family who were not fathers. Many, who married, didn't have children. And, many didn't get married to begin with. It took them all to help raise the children, of those who did have families.
In later years, Daddy liked to barbeque, then take a nap before going out to check the cattle. He would put a little stool beside the barbeque pit outside the back door, put a lot of lighter fluid to get the fire going, then put on the chicken, weiners, or hamburger patties. They always were black and tasted like lighter fluid. But he loved to do that. He would sit in the hot Texas sun, tending the fire, and sipping cold "sky juice", as he called water. That was from his Aggie days.
The picture above is one of my favorites. It shows my father, carrying my son, on the old foundation of the courthouse at Indianola, about sunset. This was probably about 1965.
If you are a father, I hope that you had a wonderful day!
It's just around the corner!
The 19th World Wide Sketch Crawl is Saturday!
Click on the Sketch Crawl logo on the top of the page, for more information and to go to their website.
I hope that you will join in! Remember, it's free, its' worldwide, it's for everyone, all ages, all levels, all media, families, groups, or individuals-just everyone, all over the world, all at the same time, drawing/painting/recording their surroundings through art.
Locally, we will meet at the Frame Gallery in downtown Bryan to register, then gather at the LaSalle Hotel, if anyone needs coffee and such! From there we can see who is working and where they want to work. Then we will spread out and start drawing the Brazos Valley.
We'll spend the morning and afternoon sketching.
Lunch is on your own, or a group could go together, if they want to. The Texas Reds Festival will be going on downtown Bryan, so there will be plenty of food to eat at the festival or at local restaurants.
After working, people can get together at the Frame Gallery to share experiences and their work.
There will be entertainment downtown, so, if people want to hang around and do the festival, they are welcome to do that.
After the Crawl, participants can either post their own work on the Sketch Crawl website, or they can add it under my listing for Bryan/College Station. They can also add it to their own website, blog, or places like Flickr.
People in the Calvert area, can do the same thing, but meet at Mud Creek Pottery on Main Street. If anyone is partial to kolaches, they might be sure to check out Zamykal Kolaches on Main Street, to start the morning. There are other eating places, there as well.
Hopefully, people in other communities will start their own Sketch Crawls for their areas, or they can work on their own, if they want.
Let's draw the Brazos Valley while other people are drawing their part of the world! I think we have plenty of material here to choose from.
Let me know if you need more information, or if you would like to join us in this area.
I would love to see what you create!
So get out your pencil and paper, or watercolors, markers, pens, paint, or whatever you want to work with and join in on Saturday.

Monday, June 9, 2008

D-Day Memory

Irvin in Milan WWII
Family Photo
I wanted to write something about D-Day and our service men and women. I spent this anniversary date afternoon visiting with Thelma and she asked me what the D stood for in D-Day. Neither of us could remember. But, she told me that was the day of the allied landing in Normandy.
We went on and talked some more. I asked her if she remembered how she first heard of D-Day. Was it on the radio, in newspapers, or did they have to wait on news reels and magazines?
I was pretty small, then, and don't remember exactly how or what we first heard. I imagine it was on the radio, followed by newspapers, and later I do recall seeing the newsreels at the Eloia theatre. And, of course, still later, there was always news in "Life" magazine.
A couple of years ago, I had asked Thelma what she was doing on D-Day. She said that she was on a train, headed for Houston, then to Baytown, with Helen, to visit Helen's family. They were still students at Baylor in Waco.
I am still fond of the sliced chicken sandwiches that we used to get on the train, and at bus stations. Thelma usually got a club sandwich. But, she said that they ordered sliced chicken sandwiches on this day in June. She still laughs about the sandwiches. She said that they had so little meat on them, that, the only way they could tell that these were chicken sandwiches was that they found a feather in one of the sandwiches!
Helen's mother was an art major and had decorated her home, and Helen's room , beautifully. But Thelma didn't like sleeping in the canopy bed in Helen's room. She said she felt like she was in a coffin.
They had a wonderful time, visiting with Helen's family. Her brother took them sailing. Thelma didn't know that the sail might come around, so she just missed being knocked into the water as the sail came near her, by ducking.
As they had a pleasant trip, they didn't know about the big battle that was going on overseas, D-Day. The thought of their loved ones who were far from home, at war, like her brother, Irvin, were always with them, though.
I reminded Thelma of the story she had told me of her D-Day, last weekend, but she didn't remember much of it, except about the chicken sandwich and the feather. As she grew sleepy, she couldn't remember what she had told me about D-Day a few minutes before.
Now I'm still wondering how we found out about times like D-Day.
Uncle Tom had a nice radio that had short wave on it. We would huddle close to the radio to listen to the garbled sounds and squawking, fading in and out, to try to hear of news from overseas. I don't think we ever heard anything important, though, and would eventually return to the regular programs that we listened to. And everyone just hoped and prayed for good news.
Irvin wasn't there for the D-Day landings. He was with the 88th Infantry Division, the Blue Devils. They went to North Africa, first, and he finished his days in the service in Italy.
The picture above is one of his photos, of when he was on leave in Milan. (I have to assume that is where the picture was taken as that is what is written on the picture.) I don't have any idea who the other people are behind him. I thought that the soldiers behind him might be someone that he knew because they are in other pictures during that leave.
Margaret told me that she was there for D-Day. She was an Army nurse, and had quite a lot of experiences during WWII.
Of course, General Earl Rudder, of Rudder's Rangers fame, became president of Texas A&M University. Statues of him, and things named for him, are abundant here. His widow, Margaret, belonged to my church, and she was quite well known until her death. Both are still fondly remembered in this area. The new high school is named for him.
I spent some time on the weekend, using the remote control on the tv, trying to find something to watch about D-Day and our history during WWII. I only heard one comment by Geraldo Rivera on the news. And I'm not sure that he was talking about D-Day, but, instead was interviewing a reporter who had been injured in Iraq. He thanked her, and all who have served, for their service.
There were no movies shown on tv, not even on the History Channel. I always expect to see things like "D-Day, the Sixth of June" and "The Longest Day". The closest thing I found was "Darling Lili" with Julie Andrews and Rock Hudson, and that one was about WWI. Later, there was "On The Beach", not about the WWII era, either.
And there was a news item about a new museum near those beaches at Normandy, dedicated to America and 9/11. I guess there are already museums and such remembrances about the battles of WWII in that area. I do know that there are tours and cemeteries.
I started wondering if the younger folks who pick out the programs are just forgetting about times that were so important to our history. And they are just showing anything, rather than what would be appropriate.
Instead of WWII programs, the History Channel had something about men cutting down trees or something to do with axes, that went on and on and on. I thought it was most unpatriotic.
Some of us were thinking about that day, D-Day. And some were remembering what they were doing that day in history, those who served, and those who didn't make it home.
The Texas Scottish Festival is over and I've heard, from those who were not too tired to do e-mail, that it was a wonderful weekend. There will be more about it as people rest up. I've left a link to it on my sidebar so that you can check it out.
Now, we get ready for the 19th World Wide Sketch Crawl.
You can click on the Sketch Crawl logo at the top of my page, and go to that website.
I hope that you will make your plans to go out (or even stay inside) and draw something that day.
Let me know if you need more information about participating.
I hope that you will pass this on to others to read. I encourage you to join my group if you haven't already. Just type in your e-mail address in the subscription box, or click on the form that will take you to my group, Art-By-Cecelia.
Thank your for your comments, and I'm so glad that you stopped by for a visit. If you see something that you are interested in, please let me know.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The First Year

My Assistant, Simba

Where I Like To Work

This blog is now one year old, with my first post published on June 4, 2007. One hundred and ninety five posts later, I hope that I have brought you something that you can enjoy, relate to, appreciate the art work, or even have a few laughs.

It has been nice to get the feedback and to know that someone out there is looking at and appreciating my efforts.

I have a lot of people to thank for all their help in getting me started. I won't make an Academy Awards type of speech, though. I just want to mention a few people, without whom, I would never have been able to get started.

Jeremy has to be at the top of my list of those who helped me to get started. Without his encouragement, patience, and technical expertise, I would never have been able to do anything on a computer!

Kevin is one who deserves a great big Thank You, too, for all his encouragement and the example he set for me. Kevin appeared via the internet, just when I was scared to death about getting a shot in my eye, and having that dreaded diagnosis of Macular Degeneration. He was so patient and helpful as I went through that. It always helps to know that others have encountered something and what they went through. And, about the time that I was starting my blog, Kevin started a Google group for those who wanted to discuss things about Cannon County, Tennessee. I would have never known about things like tomato gravy and chocolate gravy, otherwise! He and Virginia were a lot of help when I started my Google Group.

Virginia has also been a big factor in my starting this blog. Her encouragement, ideas, and inspiration have been so helpful to me over this past year. I wish that I were half that creative, energetic, and talented!

Nancy, Mary, and Myrna are just three of the many artists who are so inspiring and generous in sharing what they have learned.

Barbara, with her support of everything from advice to supplies, transportation, and treats, deserves a lot of recognition for her help.

Jami, with all her energy and willingness to help, and words of encouragement, is someone else who has made this blog possible.

All my readers who have offered comments, joined my group, sent e-mails, purchased my work have all made a difference in creating this blog. Without them, sometimes we have to wonder if anyone is even looking at what is written or created.

And, of course, there are those who listened intently to my "little stories" and encouraged me to write them and share them. That includes the car salesman who, although very young, seemed very interested to hear about how things were when I taught in his hometown years ago! I was just killing time, trying to think of something to talk about. I was so surprised when he actually seemed to enjoy what I was saying, and others came over to listen.

The people on various lists who have shared ideas and offered technical support have been very important in my work during the last year.

I have to say a big thank you to all those who have provided me with material, from family to old friends, and classmates, and people who lived around me. And, to those who have sent me information and pictures, and those who jogged my memory with their own stories.
It may take a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to create a whole life-and a book or a blog.
Thank you to you all!

I thought that you might like to see where I like to work, these days. I have a corner of a room set up, with a northwest window, and lots of shade from a Crepe Myrtle and a big, old oak tree. Behind my chair, there is a long work table, more book shelves, a tv set, a couple of tables, another writing desk and, oh yes, a small bed! I can just roll out of bed and start to work, or fall into bed when I get tired. Works out very well.
If I have something very large to work on, I can use a wall, or spread out on the kitchen island, which is also a nice place to work, providing someone doesn't want to cook something!
The big plus is that it is all close to water, the bathroom, food and drink!

I hope that you will continue reading and sharing with others. And that, if you haven't already, you will subscribe to my blog to get updates as they are added. Of course, I would like you to let others know about my blog, too, and ask them to subscribe.

Thank you so much for your kind words, your support, your interest, and your purchases over the past year. I look forward to the next year! Hope that you do, too!
Art Fest- Downtown Bryan-Friday night.
Texas Scottish Festival
This Weekend
June 6-8
Arlington, Texas
19th World Wide Sketch Crawl
Saturday June 21

My First Clay Head

This is a photo of my first attempt at sculpting a life sized head from clay. I thought it came out very well, and it did win some awards when I showed it.

This was something that I just taught myself to do, and I really did enjoy it. With more study, I learned quite a bit. At the time of my first efforts, I had no access to a kiln, and didn't know such basic things as the fact that the clay needed to be hollow, dried, and fired. Instead, I used aluminum Sculpt Metal on the outside, in several layers, when the clay was thoroughly dry.

That all worked very nicely, until I was moving and the head got dropped down a flight of stairs onto a concrete sidewalk. No more sculpture. At least I had a couple of photos.

Since then, I have created more heads, and it is one of my favorite things to do. Alas, I do not have access to a kiln again, so I guess my sculpting days are ended. I do have several heads that I did, however. Sometimes, it would be nice to get my hands in some clay again. But, I don't think that I have the strength that it requires, now.

One thing that I learned is that working three dimensionally really helps to achieve that illusion when working in two dimensional techniques.

I'm having a bit of a problem again! I was trying to fill up the extra space at the end of this post, that appeared when I scrolled down to see how much space I had left! LOL! I'm still looking at it as if I'm typing on a typewriter. But, no matter how much I backspace, that empty space at the bottom just gets longer and longer, and my paragraphs are spacing too much. As I go back and backspace to pull them closer together, that bottom space gets bigger and my paragraphs space out more. There must be a logical solution to this problem! This has happened before and I finally just gave up and left the big space!

Scroll on down to see the next post about the Texas Scottish Festival! I promise, it's there, although a bit far down the page!





Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Texas Scottish Festival June 6-8, Arlington, TX

World Champion Gregor Edmunds
Participant in World Highland Games Championship
Texas Scottish Festival
June 6-8
Arlington, Texas
That exciting time of year is here, when people are busy getting ready for the Texas Scottish Festival and World Championship Highland Games to be held at Maverick Stadium in Arlington. This is the University of Texas at Arlington stadium. People are coming from all over the world to participate and to enjoy this festival. It sounds like a really interesting and fun weekend.
While it has a Scottish theme, this event is for everyone.
I've added some links in the sidebar to the Festival, to some of the vendors, and to some of the many outstanding musicians who will be performing. Look under Music to find the Musicians. I thought you might enjoy hearing samples of some of their music.
Gregor Edmunds, shown above, is going to be the "prize" date in a version of "The Dating Game". Single lassies, ages 24-35, are eligible for the Scottish Dating Game. (Be prepared to answer questions!) The lassie who is the winner of that competition will win an escorted dinner date with the 6' 4 1/2" , 31 year old athlete from Scotland. You can read more about that on the TSF website. I also wrote about it previously on my blog.
Festivities get under way on Friday night with the Calling of the Clans and a Ceilidh (party).
Look over the page of activities on the TSF website and you are going to find things for children including a rock climbing wall and a bungee-strap kind of thing. A ren faire type of group will do a sword fighting demonstration, there will be coloring, a dog show, and opportunities to learn more about Scotland and family history.
Clan tents will offer things from fellowship, to help with locating your clan and ancestors, Gaelic, and, of course, there will be plenty of music and a Highland Dance Competition.
Speaking of contests, another opportunity to compete will come in the photography contest.
Saturday and Sunday will be filled with food, fun, and competition.
On Sunday morning, there will be a special kirking (church service).
Some of the food that will be available will include Heilian Coo Burgers from vendors Oz Highland Farms. They raise their own special Highland cattle. You can check out their website at .
Caledonian Kitchens is another vendor that will be there. This year, they are adding fish and chips, Scotch eggs, corndogs, Irn Bru, and hotdogs to their other food items that include their own special recipe for haggis and Irish Stew. Check out their website at
Another vendor will be bringing sweet treats such as their own special toffee. Brown's English Toffee has a website at .
Many will enjoy the largest pub tent in Texas, and all the many other vendors bringing food, refreshment and wares to the festival.
Birds of prey, a medieval Scotland area, Scottish fiddle workshop, Scottish miltary living history encampment, a "bonniest knees " contest, Celtic harp workshop, Scotch ale brewing competition, shortbread contest, Scotch whisky tasting and seminars, and fireworks, and much more can be enjoyed during the festival.
If you think that you may have a bit of Scottish or Celtic blood in you, you will want to look up your clan tent and get involved. Even if you don't have a clan, or know your family history, there are people there who will welcome you and try to help you find your roots.
If you are already into your Celtic heritage, you will want to wear your kilts and sashes, and enter into the spirit of the festival. This is one of the largest Scottish gatherings in the United States and is in its 22nd year.
Some of the entertainers are Alex Beaton, Ed Miller, Margaret Gravitt, Smithfield Faire,Jed Marum, Hugh Morridon, Colin Grant-Adams, Needfire, Jiggernaut, Brian McNeill, Seven Nations, The Killdares, Scottish Rogues, Beyond the Pale, Seamus Stout, Clandestine, and the Quebe Sisters Band. This is not the whole list. You can find that on the website. These are the ones that I have found links for and have in my sidebar under Music.
I'm throwing in a link for Craig Ferguson as well. After all, he was a drummer in a band, and has performed with drums when he has had bands on as guests. I haven't heard that he will be there, but I just found his link on one of the musician's page. He's a funny fellow, and I thought you might enjoy seeing a link to his page. He's certainly Scottish, and now a new citizen of the U.S. I always enjoy his program and maybe you do too.
Hope that you will get out and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity, if you can get to the area.
The weekend actually kicks off on Thursday with a Scottish Invasion at a restaurant. The lads and lassies will gather at a restaurant, many in their Scottish attire, for an outing before the festival starts. This is a very active group!
I'll be there, in spirit. I'll just have to wait for the pictures, all the e-mails from the group, and look at the links in my sidebar. It sounds like a really fun event, and the weather seems like it will cooperate with lots of sunshine.
Ticket information and times can be found on the TSF website.
on Friday
Downtown Bryan, Texas
Get ready for the 19th World Wide Sketch Crawl . Let me know if you would like to participate!
Saturday June 21 Let's Draw The Brazos Valley!
Let me know if you see something of interest to you. I do appreciate your comments and your support!
I just have to mention the passing of Bo Diddley. I wasn't that big a fan until we got to see him here at Wolf Pen Creek Ampitheatre a few years ago. People called him and called him to come out on stage, while the warm up act played on and on. From our vantage point on a little hill overlooking the stage and the creek, we could see Bo Diddley, just leaning on the railing of the balcony behind the stage, feeding the ducks that floated around on the water. Once he started playing, finally, well, that was a blast! I never had an opportunity to go to those kind of concerts when I was young and Bo Diddley and the other musicians of that type were becoming really popular. So, that was really fun, to me. Except that the rest of the family kept wanting to go home, it got so late before Bo came out. We still talk about the time that we got to see Bo Diddley.
I always liked most of that kind of music, but my favorite had been Muddy Waters. Drove my parents crazy with my music. "It will never last," they said of rock and roll, and rhythm and blues. I think that I knew that it wasn't such great music, but it was fun, and it shocked the grown ups! They just about died when we did the Dirty Bop in the living room! And, of course, that made it just that much more fun.
I hated to hear about Bo Diddley. The younger generations aren't going to know what they missed by not being able to hear and see the old stars like Bo Diddley.
Now, I'm the one who says, "This racket will never last!" when I happen to hear the popular sounds of today.
I'm glad that we do have records, video, CDs and DVDs that will preserve those stars of the past and their work.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Little Brown Church

Little Brown Church in the Wildwood
8.5" x 11"
"Now, open your hymnals and let's all sing, 'The Little Brown Church in the Wildwood'." The preacher announced the page number as Mama started playing the introduction on the organ. The congregation seemed to swish in unison as everyone stood up in the pews and the pages rustled as pages were turned all over the church.
I looked for the songs in the bulletin and on the board in the front of the church, and turned the pages back and forth until I finally found the song. I was a little sweaty with panic, worrying that I wouldn't be able to find the right page before the song was over. I could read, but not as fast as the grownups, or so I thought.
There. I found the page as everyone started to sing.
"Oh, come, come, come, come." The repitition reminded me of a march, with the drums drumming.
I could hear Daddy's deep voice coming from the back pews of the church, along with Herman in the choir near Mama and the organ. I could hear "Toot" beside me, with her deep voice, and Miss Mildred who stood in front of us, but toward the center aisle. And, of course, Joe Bill's distinctive voice as he usually led us at Sunday School. Over everyone, Miss Imogine's operatic soprano voice soared through the building. Everyone else blended in, and even harmonized appropriately.
This day, I picked "Toot" and "Honey" to sit with during church. Barbara was probably sitting with "Pappy" and Uncle Tom". We rotated who we sat with while Mama played the organ. We couldn't sit together or we would soon be squirming, pushing, pinching, squabbling, and had to be separated. Grandma had quit coming to church since she was deaf and couldn't hear anymore. They tried all sorts of hearing aids for her, but none really worked. The shrill noise as she tried to adjust it was earsplitting to everyone around her, but she couldn't hear it. So, she stayed at home.
If church was really crowded, or if some of the family was not at church that day, I might sit with Daddy on one of the two back pews. This was where a group of men sat. Usually, Grandpa and Irvin were also there, and sometimes, Uncle Tom, if "Pappy" were not at church for some reason. Mr. McMillan sat there, and several others. The men took up the collection and were ushers. But, when the sermon started, it become the snoring section. The men fell asleep and had a nice nap until Mama started playing the organ and woke them.
To make us behave, when we had to sit with the men, Daddy or Uncle Tom would provide us with Smith Brothers cough drops. Daddy would occupy himself with counting. He used the bulletin to write down the number of people present for Sunday School and for church, counted those there, wrote down the collection amounts. And he kept all of those, for years.
"Toot" was kind of a "cut up". She would show us how to make things out of the tin foil gum wrappers. (Of course, we couldn't chew gum in church, but we could find a wrapper saved in a purse, just for such occasions.) A goblet was the favorite thing to create with the foil.
She also showed us how to do "Here's the church, here's the steeple." And then we would pass that on to the younger kids near us. Something we could do without saying anything.
"Toot's" gold bracelet and compact, and her purse, often entertained me through church services.
Eventually, I learned to read the back of the hymnal. And, after I was grown, they added a Bible at each place along with the Sunday School and Church hymnals. I would read the announcements in the bulletin several times, but there usually were not that many. Also the devotional on the back of the bulletin was sometimes of interest. But too much reading, and I would be asleep like the men in the back.
I wish that I had thought of drawing but it wasn't a good thing to have a pencil or pen out in church. People would expect that you were going to damage the wooden pews or mark in a hymnal. So, I drew with my eyes! I outlined around the stained glass windows, the pews, the box by the door that held the speakers for the organ, the pulpit, the altar, the posts.
One day, I had been doing that, while sitting with the choir, and, after church, a lady came up to compliment us on the music. She told me that my eyes just danced while I was in the choir. I thought that, maybe, I would have to tone down my drawing with my eyes, and try to look at the preacher or my music. But, if I did that, I would surely fall asleep too!
As we grew older, we would sit with our friends from school and Sunday School class, or sit in the choir, where everyone could watch us.
This particular Sunday, as we sang "Little Brown Church in the Wildwood", I tugged on "Toot's dress.
"Toot", is that our church that we are singing about?" I whispered.
"Toot" kept singing and nodded at me to be quiet and sing.
I sang a little and imagined a small church, out in the woods, painted brown.
But, that didn't make sense to me. We were in a brown church, so did someone in our congregation, or maybe a long ago member, write that song about our church? If not, who did? And why? What was the church that they were writing about? What did it look like? Where was it? Was it a church that people went to before this one was built? Or was it just an imaginary church?
Why were we singing about a little church when we were in a big church, Sneed Memorial Methodist Church in Calvert? One that was brown, but brown brick. One that looked like a castle, not a cozy, small country church.
Maybe, if they were writing about our church, the author thought that this was a small church compared to those in large cities.
Were they writing about a tiny church, like the ones that we made with our hands? Or maybe a church made of logs?
So many questions and no answers, I thought. I just kept imagining that church and the woods, and wondered about it every time we sang the song.
The drawing above is a sketch of my memories of the times that I sat with "Toot" and "Honey" at church. I haven't added in other church members as it is kind of small, and I didn't want to cover my primary subjects. The little brown church that I envisioned is floating in the front of us, much the way that I saw it.
Interestingly, the little church I imagined, looks a lot like the one where one set of great-grandparents went in Tennessee. A place that I never saw until I started corresponding with the author of "Mechanicsville". She has some wonderful pictures in her book! One difference is that pictures I have seen of the Short Mountain Methodist Church do not show woods around it.
At the top of the page, I have added a link to SHIFT, that will let you hear some of their music. They will be at Texas Scottish Festival next weekend. Hope you enjoy their music and be able to go to Arlington for the big Festival.
Also, under MUSIC in my sidebar, you will see links to Ruthie Foster, who is from this area. And another link to Big Otis, who will be appearing at the Texas Reds Festival June 21. You can hear some of their music on their links. Enjoy!
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