Friday, February 27, 2009

Texas Country Reporter Trio

Texas Country Reporter Trio
Saturday February 21, 2009
Calvert, Texas
Pictured left to right, Texas State Artist Finalist, Virginia Vaughan of Round Rock; Jody Powers, owner of Zamykal Gourmet Kolaches in Calvert; and Sonny Moss, owner of Mud Creek Pottery in Calvert.
All three are alumni of the television program, "Texas Country Reporter". They are shown in Mud Creek Pottery on Main Street in Calvert last Saturday.
Moss was featured on the program in 1997. Vaughan was shown going back to paint, one last day, on her family farm after it had been sold, last spring. And Powers was shown in her shop on the weekend of February 21 and 22. The programs can be seen in reruns, and DVDs can be purchased through the "Texas Country Reporter" website.
Vaughan was in Calvert to conduct a Plein Aire Painting Workshop on Saturday.
Take a look at Kerrie Kerns' blog, Plein Texas, to read more about the Plein Aire Painting Workshop in Calvert last weekend. She has some pictures that I didn't get.
Glad you got to come, Kerrie! And thanks for sharing your pictures and experiences.
We're planning on doing another one in October.
I'll add my pictures separately. Meanwhile, they can be seen at .
I was shocked to hear that Wendy Richard died. She was the pretty girl with the Cockney accent on "Are You Being Served. She was also Pauline Fowler on "EastEnders" for over 21 years. In her younger photos, she looked like one of the Mod girls or the James Bond girls. I appreciated the more recent photos that showed her with her beloved Cairn Terriers. It was nice to see clips of tributes to her and one that showed her getting married before her death from cancer. I thought that we would miss her on "EastEnders" when she quit the program. And I hoped that she would go on to do some more interesting projects. I had not heard that she was ill. I guess I will watch "EastEnders", knowing that "Pauline" is really gone, although we haven't reached the part where she left the show through Houston PBS.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Zamykal Kolaches on Texas Country Reporter Feb. 21 & 22

Photos From Zamykal Gourmet Kolaches
Calvert, Texas
Set your tv this weekend to watch "Texas Country Reporter". You will have a treat as you get to watch Jody Powers and her shop, Zamykal Gourmet Kolaches in Calvert, Texas. Look at your tv guide or the Texas Country Reporter website for your station and time. For us, it comes on both Saturday and Sunday.
The Main Street business was named for Powers' grandmother, who also passed down her recipe for the delicious traditional kolache.
Powers is a lively lady with many interests, including history and designing and making Victorian clothing. You might find her out on Main Street, waving to cars passing through on Highway 6, urging them to stop and try her wares. Or she might be waiting on new customers and giving them the background of her shop and merchandise, with her very best accent. She might be dressed as a Victorian lady tutoring people on the correct use of a fan or even giving a dance lesson. Her day starts very early in order to have fresh kolaches ready for customers each morning.
If you are in Calvert, stop by and see Jody and enjoy a kolache at one of the tables in the shop or out on the sidewalk.
In the photos above you can see Jody, with her "girls", dressed in some of the Victorian dresses that she designed and made. In photo number 2, Jody dances on Main Street, hoping to attract customers to stop and have a kolache or two. Photo number 3, shows Jody waiting on a customer, while giving her spiel about kolaches and her shop. Photo number 4 shows a lady with an apron, resting at one of the sidewalk tables in front of Zamykal Gourmet Kolaches. The fifth photograph shows an assortment of Zamykal kolaches. These are just a few of the sweet treats that you will find inside the kolache shop in Calvert. Look at her website for a complete list, with a picture of each.
Speaking of Calvert and "Texas Country Reporter", Virginia Vaughan will be in Calvert over the weekend to paint and conduct a plein aire painting workshop. Sunrise to moon rise on Saturday Februay 21, and into Sunday February 22.
Vaughan was on "Texas Country Reporter" last spring as she returned to the old famiy farm to paint for one more day. She has become known for her series of 365 paintings of her family farm, wich she calls "Last Year On The Farm". The series and her field notes were included in her book called "Last Year On The Farm: A Time of Change". The collection of paintings have toured in various places around the country.
And, recently, as I have mentioned previously on this blog, Vaughan has been honored for being a Finalist for the upcoming 2009-2010 Texas State Artist.
Come paint with us, if you are in the area!
Thanks to Esther and Flossie for sharing their memories about Conitz Dry Goods Store. And for the comments from several other readers. It's good to know that others are reading my blog and enjoying my pictures.
Also, I would like to remind everyone that, if you want to look at my information about vision loss and Macular Degeneration, look in the previous posts at titles that are prefaced with the word "Vision". You can find links to sites that have all sorts of information by looking under EYE SITES in my sidebar.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ladies Department in Conitz Dry Goods Store

Selling Underwear
in Conitz Dry Goods Store
Calvert, Texas
8.5" x 11"

The Every Day Matters Challenge #210 was to draw underwear.

I tried to think of some interesting underwear to draw, and then I remembered the panty counter at grandpa's dry goods store. All those stacks of panties! I wasn't sure I wanted to draw that and then I thought of drawing someone selling the underwear. I moved my clerk (probably "Toot") over to the bra and girdle display. And I remembered a long talk I had with a customer whose doctor had told her to wear a girdle to help her back. I thought of those miserable, hard to get into girdles of the time, and thought how hard it was for me to get one of those things on. And I thought this poor woman would have a battle to get into one of those tight undergarments. And I wondered if one might help the back trouble I was having. I wasn't willing to struggle with a girdle every day, and suffer through the heat rash and raw skin that those things always caused me.
But, I showed her what we had and talked to her about a lot of different things. I think she bought one that didn't seem so hard to get into, and she paid for it with money wadded up in her handkerchief.
In my picture, I gave the customer a friend. One who enjoyed her dip of snuff as she listened.
My little sister is shown by the counter where we measured fabric. That counter also held a display of ladies handkerchiefs and children's socks. Behind the counter were shelves with boxes of stockings and socks. On top of the shelves, there were rolls of cotton batting used for making quilts.
Barbara liked to wear boys' clothes and play with boys' toys. In this drawing, I showed her dressed in overalls with a striped polo shirt. She has a toy truck in her hand. But, she wasn't just playing with the truck. She was working! Her first job was to watch for shop lifters when the grown ups got busy waiting on customers. Mama worried about her possibly hitting her head on the corners of the counter, as she tried to run around in the store.
In the picture, I am sitting on the floor of the show window. The big plate glass windows gave an excellent view of Main Street, the picture show, and traffic passing by. I liked to get in the show windows and look out, and play with some of the merchandise-like hats! I was put to work doing things like stringing handkerchiefs and putting pin tickets on merchandise, sweeping, straightening, and waiting on customers.
As I draw, these memories and details come to me. It's similar to the mapping exercise that I have written about previously.
We had the basic kind of things in the store. For the fancy things like Merry Widows and petticoats, ladies had to go to Hazel's, or Sue's, or to Bryan, Marlin, or Waco, to the big department stores.
In the front, there was a display case, like those on the tv program, "Are You Being Served", that held things like slips, gift items, and boxes of better handkerchiefs.
Underwear for the older ladies were kept in boxes under the counter with the towels and bath items, and tablecloths. I was told that the older women would not want people to see what kind of underwear they wore. Snuggies, teddies, cotton slips and stockings in orange, pink or nude (beige).
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about selling underwear in the dry goods store!
For those of you who are familiar with Conitz Dry Goods Store, and you are old enough, you might remember the last time that the store burned. That was February 1, 1951. I'm adding a couple of photos. One of the store before it burned, one while it was still burning. And there is another that shows the interior of the store after it was rebuilt.
Jody Powers, owner of Zamykal Gourmet Kolaches in Calvert, sent word that the segment featuring her and her shop will be on tv this coming weekend, Feb. 21st. It will also be on some stations Sunday the 22nd, too. Look at your local tv guide for times.
Jody also sent me a couple of pictures that I will post here tomorrow.
Saturday is the big Plein Aire Painting Workshop with Virginia Vaughan in Calvert. You can see pictures on my blog from the last workshop in October. For more information and a supply list, contact me! You can see more on Virginia's blog and website, and .

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!
8.5" x 11"
colored pencil, ink
I hope that you are having a wonderful Valentine's Day with those you love!
I took out the earbobs (the kind that you screw on, not pierced) that a boy gave me many years ago, when we graduated from high school. I've worn them every Valentine's Day, that I went anywhere, since that time. I thought that they just look like Valentine's Day.
The earbobs are heart shaped with a pearlized background surrounded by gold. In the center, is a red rose. On each side of the heart, there are 3 blue stones, in what I call gold spokes extending from the side. There are two more little gold spokes at the top and one more larger one at the bottom.
I don't think that I had anymore dates with the boy after he gave me the earbobs. I went off to college and he went off to the service and we went on with our lives. I was very surprised that he gave me a graduation gift. That was very nice of him, and it is still appreciated. He was cute, I thought. When he died, not so long ago, I immediately remembered the earbobs in my jewelry case.
I'm not going out anywhere, but I took a picture of the earbobs and a piece of popcorn that my grandson brought me this morning. He found a kernel of corn that he thought looked like a flower. (Last year, he found a heart shaped potato chip that we took a picture of!) So our picture is called "Hearts and Flowers". I guess that was my valentine for this year.
I thought I might need to add the photo of the earbobs to our family pictures. And, I might draw them for my sketchbook.
Remembering all those handmade Valentines that I had my students make to give to veterans, people in the nursing home or hospital, and service men and women, I did the above little valentine with some old fashioned symbols, and an old fashioned saying.
Often, we just used copy machine paper, which was easy to get, and wasn't so heavy for mailing. In good years, when we had more money, we used construction paper, and things like ribbon and rick rack to decorate the cards.
The above card was done on copy paper with Prismacolors and pen. The saying on it became so trite that it was discouraged. And since it had not been used much for a long while, I thought I would add it. I think I started hearing that saying when I was about in second grade! My boyfriend printed it in his Big Chief tablet and passed the paper back to me. (The teacher had separated us, believing that we were too young to have boy friends and girl friends! I wasn't so interested in having a boy friend in my class, either, but we ended up together almost all through school. She didn't know that I had my first date at age 7! The grown ups weren't so in favor of it, though.)
I always thought that, on Valentine's Day, it would be so nice to be treated really well by someone special. That's the day to get jewelry, like diamond rings, candy, flowers, and be taken to some place really nice to eat, go out dancing in some romantic place, etc.
It usually is a disappointing day. Watching others get balloons and valentines, making them for other people, watching romance on tv. We did have one principal who gave each lady faculty member a rose on Valentine's Day. I sort of felt like it was for the ones he really liked, and the thorns were for the rest of us! But it was nice for my desk.
Ashton's class had a party at school yesterday. He only showed me one Valentine he got-a 3-D or hologram type of thing with a dog and a kitten on it. As you move the card, the animals change. He said they had ice cream sundae's at their party. He thought they should have had more. I think he was hungry. He didn't eat breakfast, and didn't like the lunch at school.
When we were in school, some students were allowed to decorate a box for all the valentines. Crepe paper and ribbon were the favorite materials used. The box sat on a table in front of the room, and valentines were added until time for our party.
I thought that the hat boxes at Grandpa's dry goods store would be ideal for a box to decorate. I begged and pleaded for a box for years! I just got a grouchy "No"! Pappy explained that they needed the box for business, but I thought that they could spare just one for our Valentine's Day party.
One year, he gave in and let me use a hat box. I was so proud and thought that was the most beautiful Valentine's box that we ever had. I still didn't get to be in the group that decorated it. But that was okay.
I don't think that we had to give a valentine to everyone, as they do today. It was war time and times were hard. We never thought about making cards, either. I think that we bought our little cards at Fink's Variety Store and, those with more money, or those who had saved to buy one for a special boy or girl, bought those at Taliaferro's drug store. Cards to our special friends were written and addressed with great care and dropped into the hole on the top of the hat box. It was nice when the sound indicated that there were a lot of cards in the box.
Parents brought cookies and punch to school for our party. Those were enjoyed quietly at our desks. We read our cards as we walked home, and, later, talked to our friends to compare notes about who had sent us a card.
The Baptists had a special Sweetheart Banquet for Valentine's Day. It wasn't for sweethearts, particularly,but for older teens. A chance to dress up and use our best manners. If anyone actually had a date for this, that was really special! Most of us just went on our own. I found a program recently from one banquet that I attended. As I recall, I only went to one, or maybe two. For one thing, we were Methodist, and, for another, I was shy and had a bit of an eating problem. I think my friends and my mother insisted I go, or I never would have gone. But, it was nice.
We should have taken more photographs of those things.
My "romantic" evening is going to be watching the British comedies on Houston PBS while eating supper, and having some of the yellow cake with lemon frosting that my daughter made for my mother's birthday. (She makes a cake for all the family members' birthdays, although they are no longer with us!)
Hope you have a great Valentine's evening, and, at least, have some great memories to enjoy!
I thought that my "Rain Dance" picture wasn't going to work, but, there are clouds to the south moving toward us, and it sounds like thunder in the distance. Let's hope we get some nice gentle rain!
If you like to draw or paint, I hope that you will be joining us Saturday for the Plein Aire Workshop in Calvert. Virginia Vaughan will be painting with us on Sunday, for a while, too.
I know it is going to be fun! And we are going to learn a lot!
Contact Cecelia at grannyc_54at for a supply list and information. It would help to know if you plan to come.
We've got a lot of material to work from in Calvert!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rain Dance

Rain Dance
5.5" x 8.5"

I don't know any good rain dances, and my knees wouldn't let me do one, if I did know how! So, I did a small watercolor of a rain dance. I made up a native dancer, added in a few other possible characters who might go out and try to bring rain, and a few little symbols. The things of earth that need water, including grass, flowers, and food, symbolized by corn. I even created a rain mask for the dancer. Blue, for water and rain, diagonal lines for rain coming down, and a few scattered raindrops to make a pattern.

We do need a nice, slow, soaking rain-or several of them-as do a lot of other places. A line of storms that led to tornadoes in several places, came through the other night. We got a little lightning and wind, and a tiny bit of rain.
I unplugged my computer, as I always do when storms approach, and, when I plugged it in the next day, my scanner wouldn't work. (As usual!) It has taken the rest of the week of unplugging and plugging the thing back in to make it finally work.
Supposedly, there were a few showers around this morning, and the humidity is up today. We need so much more, but no floods, please!
We've had so much nice weather, lately. I won't be surprised to see leaves coming out and flowers ready to bloom soon!
Anyway, if you know of a good rain dance, and it's dry where you are, you might try a good rain dance for us all.
"Rain Dance" was done with Winsor Newton watercolors on Strathmore cold press watercolor paper.
We hope for nice weather next Saturday, the 21st and 22nd, when Virginia Vaughan will be in Calvert for a Plein Aire Painting Workshop.
I'm practicing getting up early to be ready to watch her paint a gorgeous sunrise painting!
Let me know if you are planning to come.

Hope that you will join us! It's going to be a really nice experience.


Have a Great Friday the 13th!
For kids, today is school Valentine's Day parties.
We used to send Valentines to the area VA hospitals as part of the Ann Landers Valentines for Vets project. We also took them to the local nursing home, and the hospital, before it closed. It was a scramble to get the cards made, graded, and put into the mail.
When we had addresses, we also sent things to service men and women.
I still think that is a good project.
I guess it is too late to do anything for this year. I just realized, last night, that tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and today is Friday the 13th. The only reason I knew is because my grandson was finishing up his Valentines for their class party.

One of these days, I'm going to have to get a new calendar!


Sunday, February 8, 2009


Petrified Rock/Manmade Crystal
Photo by Ashton

This was a joint project.

My children, grandsons, and I have always liked to pick up rocks that catch our attention.

At one time, I worked with another art teacher who set up a huge lapidary set-up in his art room, which happened to be an old auditorium. The equipment covered the entire stage. He was into a lot of craft type of projects. Kids would take rocks to him to polish, and they turned out to be really beautiful.

We bought a small rock tumbler a few years ago, but the constant noise was bothersome. It ended up being thrown out due to the noise, and nothing seemed to be happening to our rocks after days of tumbling.

My aunt also collected rocks and had 3 huge piles of them in her mother's back yard. But her intention was to build a house of petrified rock one day. She ended up settling for a brick house, though, and all those rocks we collected were given away or sold when they sold the old home place.

Ashton has liked crystals and wanted to buy and make his own. We've tried various projects but none worked. When I was buying a sketchbook at Hobby Lobby, he picked out another sack that said we could grow our own crystals. I didn't think it would work, like all the rest we had bought or read about.

We picked out an old Cool Whip container and a petrified rock he had found. The rock went into the container with hot water and the mixture from the store. We were supposed to set it aside for a week. Two days was the limit of his patience. Nothing seemed to be happening, so he picked the rock up. I told him to leave it alone and see what happened. Days later, there seemed to be something like red Kool Aid on the sides of the bowl, above the liquid. We decided that it was working a little bit, but not what we expected.

Yesterday, we took the rock out of the bowl and put it on newspaper to dry. Lo and behold, there was a big round pink crystal attached under the rock. It is the shape of the Cool Whip bowl! There are a few sparkles on top of the rock, so we thought that, maybe, if it had been left alone, the crystal might have covered the rock. We don't know, of course.

But it is very interesting to see the difference in these two textures with their contrasting colors, as well.

The rock is natural and rough with the ridges that were once wood. The crystal is pink and filled with small glass like rods that shimmer in the light.

Asthon took photographs of the project. I had told him, at the beginning, that if we were doing this, scientifically, he should take a picture every day and write down his observations. But, we were not that involved in it and just wanted to see a pretty crystal! Maybe next time.....

The next step would be to draw and paint the creation. Or, perhaps, we will just enjoy looking at it!

I wonder if a man made crystal would have the powers that natural crystals are supposed to have. I'll have to try it next time I feel bad. This one looks like it is big enough to cure a headache! I do have a crystal that seems to help when I hold it at the time of a bad stomach ache. I don't know if it really helps, or if it just helps me to think of something else and relax a bit.


I added a button to the top of my sidebar where you can subscribe to Brazos Valley_Sketchers. This is a Yahoo group for anyone who is interested in drawing or painting in the Brazos Valley Area. .

If you know of anyone who might be interested, pass it on. I've put a lot of photos on there and a calendar with reminders of some pertinent events.


You can also fill in your e-mail address in the subscription box to subscribe to my blog. That way, you are sure to get the updates to my blog when I add them.


Another way to get my blog is to click on the Followers list and that should bring my blog right to you each time I update it.


The Plein Aire Painting Workshop in Calvert with Texas State Artist Finalist, Virginia Vaughan, is just around the corner, Feb. 21 and into the 22nd. I hope you are coming! If not, perhaps you will pass the information on to others who might be interested.

Virginia just did a workshop in Rockport yesterday, beginning at Sunrise. (See her blog at ) They had a great time and learned a lot. Barbara reports that it was windy, but their main focus was on drawing with a brush, for this particular workshop.

Contact Sonny Moss at Mud Creek Pottery in Calvert for information, or send an e-mail to Cecelia for information and a supply list at .

We're looing forward to a full day of fun, learning, and production with a talented artist and teacher.


Crystal update: Part of the pink crystal broke off when Ashton was handling it. So, he crumbled up that part, put it back in the bowl with some water, to see if more will grow. We no longer have the big round pink crystal, but do have a part of it attached to the petrified wood. At least, now we know how to do it, if we should decide to grow another crystal. I think that, next time, it would be good to try a different shaped container.


Plein Aire Painting With Virginia Vaughan

Calvert, Texas

Come Paint With Us!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dancing At Mr. Ben's

Dancing At Mr. Ben's
8.5" x 11"
We loved to dance, back in the 1950s.
There were no dance halls or such, and no drinking, in Huntsville, Texas back in those days. But there were several places to dance. If a business had a place to dance, a juke box, a place to sit, and something to eat and drink, there would be college kids there-day or night.
The SUB (Student Union or Lowman Student Center-a fairly new building at the time) was one place that had a good dance floor, a jukebox, and a band for college dances, and a snack bar, and bookstore downstairs. This was on a hill by the science building. People cut classes to hang around the SUB and dance all day. And it was the place to go between classes. Some people even sat there to study while the jukebox was going.
Remember, we barely had tv and could only get one radio station because of the hills. Tv was a new thing, and we only had tvs in the visitors areas of the dorms.
Another place to dance was at Mr. Ben's. This was a trolly car that an older man had set up on a hill by a book store, just across the street from campus. In the trolly, he had a grill and cooked hamburgers, Lousiana rice, chicken and dumplings, and short orders. Behind the trolly, hanging over a ravine, was a long room with a hardwood floor. On one side of the room was a counter for ordering food. On the opposite side, in a corner, there was an old juke box with some really old songs on it. On each of the long sides of the room, there were some old student chairs with the writing arm on them, where people could sit and study and eat. Or they could wait until someone came along to dance with.
I was so thrilled the year that I no longer had to get up early for a class, and had to eat my meals in the dorm dining room. I made it a point to go to Mr. Ben's about 10 in the morning and rebel. Instead of breakfast food, I got one of his wonderful hamburgers. They were even better at that time of day. The first one off his grill was the best. I guess it was because the grill was still clean.
Sometimes, I would get a small bowl of chicken with dumplings, or rice, or stew at lunch time. (I really liked Helen's stew at the beer joint next door to Daddy's variety store, best, though.)
None of it cost over 25 cents an item. And 5 cents for a Coke. 10 cents for french fries or onion rings. And you could get a package of potato chips for 5 cents.
If there was a big crowd at the SUB, we would wander over to Mr. Ben's and listen to the jukebox, hoping someone would come in ready to dance.
In the drawing above, I showed one of the styles of the time and one outfit that I wore. I had an orange felt circle skirt, with about 6 to 8 petticoats under it. I borrowed Alison's white cashmere sweater and wore an orange scarf at my neck, (like they wore in the cowboy shows! That was "in style"!) , and either black flats or black and white saddle shoes. My hair was cut in duck tails. I carried my books around, but I wasn't very studious. I would rather dance!
During the summer, Mr. Ben closed up his place and went camping on the river. As I remember the story, one year, when the students returned, Mr. Ben didn't come back. He was found at his campsite on the river.
Our school colors were orange and white, which is the same for the University of Texas. When I would go to visit friends there, I wore my Sam Houston outfit and people thought I was from the university! I fit right in.
I didn't want to wear that outfit anymore after one older man, professor, told me he would pass me if I would sit on the front row of his class and wear that outfit to each class. I ran out of that place, and would not go back! I got an F in the class. I didn't know that I should have reported him. Of course, you didn't do anything about sexual harrassment, back then. Girls just tried to avoid the person and change the situation. Drop a class, move, quit a job, get a boyfriend or father to step in for you. I thought something was wrong with that man, anyway, when he told the class that things like tables and chairs were masculine or feminine! How could one tell? I wasn't about to ask! I just thought he was some kind of pervert! And that was confirmed when he told me how to pass his class!
Ah, but Mr. Ben's was a nice place to go, and Mr. Ben was a very kind, grandfatherly type of man. I thought he would be someone to go to for help, if needed. And, the kids and the noise of the jukebox and dancing, didn't seem to bother him a bit.
Most grown ups of the time thought our music was horrible, couldn't stand to hear it, told us it was trash and wouldn't last. Of course, that made us want to play it even more. It was great for dancing, fun, listening, parking, energizing, relaxing, and we're still listening to it. We thought some things were just funny and not to be taken seriously, although the adults thought we were thinking that it was great music. And, sometimes, we just tried to shock them with things like "the dirty bop". (Wasn't dirty, at all, and we laughed all the while we were dancing.)
Hope that you are going to be able to go out for some good dancing this weekend, or that you can watch.
I noticed that at the 979 Gallery and Cafe in downtown Bryan (I hope that I didn't type that wrong, but it's close!) has a night when they have Swing Dancing. Now that should be fun. At least to watch. My knees won't move that well, but that is like the jitterbug and jitterbop that we used to do. So much fun!
I could go watch and sketch, maybe.
The night and times are on their website.
Hopefully, if you are local, you got out to First Friday in Downtown Bryan tonight. I'm sure that it is fun, with so much to do. Lots of art, music, entertainment, food, and activities for all ages.
Look at Virginia Vaughan's website for workshops coming up. She is doing a workshop in Rockport tomorrow, with an emphasis on drawing with the paintbrush.
She will be in Calvert February 21-22 for a Plein Aire Painting Workshop.
Sign up and join us!
Thanks for reading and sharing with others.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Rainbow

Top Photo: Photo of Simba on my drafting table
Bottom: Photo of my drafting table with travel set of Winsor Newton watercolors

I found a cute little test to do, but, like the slide shows, it keeps saying that blogger can't accept my html. I don't know anything about it, so I can't fix it. I wanted to put it on my blog, but can't do it. Don't know what the problem is, and the tech people don't seem to know either. Computers can be so frustrating!
I just did a cut and paste, and maybe you can go to the site and see what it tells about you. There is supposed to be a picture here-a band of colors-but it didn't come out.
Hmmm. I wonder how they knew about my colors-and me!

Your rainbow is strongly shaded violet.
(There should be a picture here!)
What is says about you: You are a creative person. You appreciate beauty and craftsmanship. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it.Find the colors of your rainbow at

If you are in the area of Bryan/College Station tomorrow night, I hope that you will make it down to First Friday in downtown Bryan. Lots of artists, musicians, food, and entertainment and even carriage rides. You can go to the Downtown Bryan website to see what all is going on.
Thanks to Cindy Peaslee and Greta Watkins for keeping me updated on downtown activities.

I actually turned the tv off today! Now that is rare for me. If I am at home, the tv is on. Well, I just turned off all the programs and went to the end of the channels where there is music. I turned on the channel with "Singers", a lot of oldies like Frank Sinatra and Jo Stafford, and newer ones like Harry Connick Jr.
My intention was to paint, something kind of playful and experimental, on the order of Martha Marshall's processes while the appropriate music was playing. Well, it's sunset, and I'm still getting painting things together. I did finish the letters on the bank painting, with a toothpick (and it was too large!) and decided that I need to put out some fresh paint before I start painting. Then the cat was sick for a bit, so that required medication and clean up.
Had to look for my reference pictures on the computer, found some scrap materials to use with my painting, then spent hours trying to find where I put my hole puncher. Checked out Facebook and e-mail, and, that has been the day.
It takes me so long to move all my little "burglar alarms" that I set up each night, before I can get to my painting area. I don't have them set up for two legged burglars, but for the 4 legged characters. Cats like to get on my drafting table and look out the window. That would be okay if they wouldn't scratch on things, etc. I think they are learning! They don't like the noise when they jump on my table and cans, etc. start falling. A few shots with a water pistol helped, too.
One of these days, maybe, I will be able to leave my painting things out and the cats will go somewhere else in the house.
I know. Some would say "Get rid of the cats!" But they are family. We are down to Bitsy, age 23 and not doing well due to renal failure, and Simba, age 5 (or is he 6 now?), the king of the house. And an occasional visit from Ike, the big, black cat who came to us the night that Ike, the hurricane, moved in. He's still coming back to visit! Comes in to eat our food, drink water, and nap. Ike doesn't bother anything. It is mainly Simba now who likes to sit on my table, unless Ike is in the house. Then he is like a shadow, staying right behind Ike, not letting the visitor out of his sight. Protecting us, I guess.
I wonder if Ike has a home around here, or if he was dumped. He's a big, solid cat-and absolutely black.
Now, I wonder what I am going to put on the Thing A Day Project site for today. We're supposed to do something creative each day to put on the site. I finally got caught up last night, and thought I would have another painting to put on. But, it isn't done, and, if it were, it would still have to dry before I can scan it. I do have a drawing that I've been working on, but it isn't finished.
I have to remember that they go by Eastern time on that site, and things are supposed to be on there by midnight. I was late a couple of nights because I thought I still had time-not thinking about EST and Central time. No telling what time people in California have to have their work in by! Earlier/Later?

Thanks to Edie and Maurina, I now know where Dr. Parker lived in Calvert! If you don't remember, he lived by Gladys Casimir. That is coming back to me, now. I guess I never went to his house, so I didn't remember. We all agreed that he was old when we knew him. And that those steps up to the doctors and dentist's offices were scarey to kids. It surely meant that you were going to be hurt or embarrassed!

Well, I've lost the light, and tomorrow is another day. I'm going to try to get into the paint again tomorrow. I do alright with sketching at night, but I sort of need some sunlight to paint, these days. Sometimes I can't tell if I am using blue or black, beige or lavender, etc., except in sunlight. I took a "drumstick" ice cream cone out of the freezer this afternoon, and thought it had a funny taste to it. Maybe a little orange extract in it? Wondered why they would change these treats that have been around forever. I thought it might be like so many things today where they are trying to change recipes to make things healthier and cheaper. I went into the kitchen with my ice cream when Chris needed an ice pack for his ankle. I was so surprised that the ice cream under the chocolate coating was---green! It turned out that the package of drumsticks has assorted flavors in it! I didn't know there was anything but vanilla! I think I had mint, and I'm really not that fond of mint. Too late. I had to go on and eat it.
That ice cream looked white, to me-and that was by the window where I paint!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dr. Parker's Office

Dr. Parker's Office
8" x 10"
During WWII, Dr. Taylor was called to serve in the U.S. Navy. Elderly Dr. Parker reopened his office on the second floor of the bank to take care of Calvert patients while Dr. Taylor was gone.

Dr. Wade had an office over what is now Larry's Place, next to Zamykal Gourmet Kolaches.
I always felt sorry for Dr. Wade's patients, in bad weather, having to climb outside stairs on the north side of the building, while Dr. Taylor, Dr. Parker, and the dentist, Dr. Cain, all shared an entrance on the south side of the bank building, with stairs inside the building. And, boy, did I dread climging those stairs!

Most of the time, we went to the doctors in Marlin, but, if we needed immediate care, we went to the doctor in Calvert. And, if we were really sick, of course, the doctor came to our house. (I remember when the doctors went up from $1 a visit, to $2. People just shook their heads and wondered how they would be able to afford those high prices!)
I remember that Dr. Parker's office was very old fashioned, with overstuffed, brown, leather furniture, like in the cowboy shows, in his waiting room. There was a big leather chair by the door to the examining room. A huge leather couch was on the opposite side of the entrance. I can't remember what was on the wall to the left. Maybe some straight chairs? (I was too scared to look around very much, and probably looked at my shoes or the floor, or my mother, more than noticing my surroundings.)The south windows were on the wall opposite the couch. To the left of the door to the examining room, there was a white enameled table with a sterilizer on top. A little fold out tray on one side of the top made extra space for the instruments. Closer to the windows, there was a dark wooden desk and chair. I believe it was a roll top desk, but I'm not sure about that.
Through the door beside the sterilizer, was the examining room, all white and glass. An eye chart was on one wall along with some framed diplomas. Perhaps there was a calendar on the wall, just inside the door.
I hated going to Dr. Parker, and all doctors, actually. But Dr. Parker's needles were old and bent, and looked a bit rusty, to me. They were sterilized and reused, in those days. The old needles were thick, as well as long. And they sure did hurt! Frequently, I was given injections of penicillan for sinus trouble, with those old fashioned syringes. I would faint when I saw one of those needles, after a few shots with those bent needles. Maybe that is why I hate shots so much, still!
I don't remember where Dr. Parker lived, or anything about him. He just seemed very old.
One of the Parker's, Denny, wrote a book about Calvert which has been reprinted.
There was a Parker who lived on the corner across from the entrance to the parking lot at the school. I don't know if this was the doctor, or maybe his son. I do remember this man wore khaki pants around home, and his cow was always getting loose and breaking down newly planted trees around the neighborhood. Mr. Parker would walk around, with a rope, find the cow, and take her home. But, it wasn't long before the cow found a way out of the fence, and another little tree or two to walk over.
Those offices, upstairs, seemed so "citified", to me.
Calvert was once a busy place, with about everything that a person would need. It was nice that way. Of course, some of us always wanted to go somewhere else, have more to choose from, more specialized doctors and services, so people saved up their ration books and stamps to travel, shop, and entertain.

The merchants didn't like for people to buy out of town, of course, but their wives, daughters, and neighbors looked forward to the outings. Something different.
I posted a painting of the bank, previously. This little sketch is part of what was upstairs. This was done with an HB pencil on white paper.

Greta Watkins of the Frame Gallery in downtown Bryan is working on portraits for a show in downtown Bryan in June. More details later.

I was so shocked this afternoon. The cable guy came to fix our cable which was making our new tv sets go off unexpectedly, or the remotes would not do anything. He fixed some things outside and inside. But, he replaced the cable boxes that we haven't had for very long. One overheatedand we thought it was about to catch on fire over the weekend.
But the thing that put me into shock was that, in replacing the boxes, I lost all the tv programs that I have been recording. Things I was saving to watch on a day when nothing else is on. All my cowboy shows, old movies, British comedies, and, worst of all, the painting programs from Houston PBS. I have trouble staying awake during the programs that start at 4 a.m., so I thought I was being so smart by recording them.
I should have watched those programs, because, now, they are gone! Oh, well. I guess I will start over.
And, a kind of funny thing happened tonight. I didn't notice, but the cable man must have replaced the remote in the den. I was watching tv, changing channels, and hit a wrong button. I didn't want to activate whatever it was that it told me to activate by pushing OK. So, to get out of it, I was going to hit Exit. To my distress, there was no longer an Exit button on the remote! I thought it must be my eyes and I just couldn't see it-a black button on a black remote, with tiny little white letters! I had to take the remote to my daughter, who was not happy that she had to come-again-to fix the tv for me!
But, it wasn't my eyes, after all. We had a different remote, that doesn't say Exit on it!
About the time that I figure these things out, they change!
I did learn about the changes that we have been hearing about over and over on tv. I wondered if all the channel numbers are going to change. I was happy to learn that the changes have already been made here! Yea! I hate when I can't find my station or programs that I normally watch! The tv guides are too small, and there is just too much there. So, I either have to look for new stations on a card, or just use the remote to flip through channels until I see something that I want to watch.
They need to make technology simpler instead of more complicated, with each new thing! I guess it's okay for kids and left brained people, but, the older I get, the more right brained I become.
I guess it is about time to start looking for someone to do a rain dance. I heard on the news tonight about some local cattlemen starting to sell off some of their cattle because it is too dry. Grass they planted hasn't had enough rain to grow right, so they are having to feed, and that isn't working very well. I hope we are not in for another big drought.
I went back into this and added a different image. The first one was done before I darkened some areas, so this one shows better. But, when I added the picture, my lines of text spread out! I did backspacing to tighten it up, but, now, I'm sure that I'll have a big space at the end, again. I still don't know how to fix that. So, just scroll on down.

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

On Clementine and Wyatt, Tim, and Wild Bill

Cowboy Dancing
5" x 7"
Yesterday could have been something like tv heaven if you love the movie, "My Darling Clementine". I must have watched it about 6 times! Now, I am crazy about Tim Holt, still, and good old cowboy shows, but I have to admit that I was wishing that they would have another good show on after about the 3rd time. They did have "Alias Jesse James" with Bob Hope on a few times too. I recorded both shows for a time when there isn't anything else on to watch, so I didn't really need to see them over and over.
There was one more show on that was good and that was "The Plainsman and the Lady" with Wild Bill Elliott. (Did anyone else ever think, in years gone by, that "Wild Bill" reminded them a lot of our Calvert Elliott-the man who became sheriff? I admit that I was a bit too scared to look at the man and study him enough to see if there was any real resemblance. )
I think that we had quite a few people in town who looked like movie stars. All the ladies, dressed up in their suits with their perfect hair and lipstick, back in the 30s and 40s could rival the movie stars. And some of the men looked like cowboy stars.
As I watched "My Darling Clementine" yesterday, I thought that I should draw from the action. I had already sketched Wyatt Earp dancing with Clementine at church when the movie was on earlier in January. That filled my sketchbook, so I'm back to copy paper for sketching until I get a satisfactory sketchbook. (I talked earlier of buying one, but I don't like the paper.) I wasn't really in the mood for drawing, though, with sneezing and runny eyes. So, I just "piddled" at the computer, for most of the day.
There are some movies that I could watch over and over. "My Darling Clementine" is one of them. (I confess that I am ready for a new show today, though.) I've also grown attached to "The Horse Soldiers", "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon", and the two James Garner westerns, "Support Your Local Sheriff" and "Support Your Local Gunfighter". It seems like the more I watch them, the more I want to see them. And I always see something that I missed before.
Tim Holt wasn't the big star in "My Darling Clementine", and I didn't like that he had a beard at the beginning of the movie, as did most of the other men. After all, they had been herding cattle!
In some scenes, he sounded like he had a cold. I wondered if it could be from all the dust on location. In the past, after he was killed off, I wasn't so interested in the rest of the movie. I guess I have grown up some and now I watch the whole movie.
Tim gave me some encouragement, although, of course, he never knew it. During this period, Tim had some kind of "thing" on his left cheek. In later movies, it was gone, so I guess he had it removed.
I had a cyst come up on my left cheek when I was about in the 2nd grade. It was a big ugly thing, all purple, yellow, green, blue. Of course, it looked really huge, to me. I remember that I didn't want to see myself in a mirror or even as a reflection in the bathtub faucet. I would sit backward in the bathtub so I wouldn't have to look at that colorful blemish.
As we were about to start 3rd grade, the family took me to several doctors. I guess they feard it might be a tumor or cancer. Local doctors referred us to a specialist in Houston. The whole family went, and they all looked worried. I couldn't figure out why. The "thing" didn't hurt. It was just ugly, I thought. But I was scared of what a doctor might do to me.
This doctor took me in his examining room, with Daddy, pinched my face really hard, and announced "It's a cyst". He quickly held out his hand and said, "$50, please!"
We went back to our doctors in Marlin and they arranged for surgery. I didn't want to have an operation, but I didn't want the cyst, either. I went to the first day or two of 3rd grade, then took out to have the surgery. I didn't want to go back to school because now I had a big bandage, then a scar on my cheek instead of a colorful cyst.
Mama, of course, forced me to go back.
I went for the Veronica Lake look with my hair. Mama would braid it in the morning, and I would pull my hair loose and use a little hair comb to comb my hair over one side of my face, like the famous hair style of the movies. I felt a bit safe, hiding behind my hair. It took me many years to feel comfortable with short hair that revealed my scar. In later years, it looked more like a dimple, but I know that scar is there.
It helped that Tim also had that spot on his face, although I never could see a scar where the place had been. Maybe it was makeup or plastic surgery. Anyway, it helped to know that someone else had the same thing, and that person was even on movie screens, enlarged a lot.
"My Darling Clementine", and other b&w movies, are good examples to look at if you want to study values for drawing and painting. Dramatic lighting and scenes.
Since I watch so many old movies, my youngest grandson asked me, one day, "Grandma, when did the world change from black and white to color?"
I'm still laughing. I never would have thought of that, even as a child. Of course, we didn't have a lot of color movies back then, either. Those were really special things.
In my little gesture type of sketch above, I used a Pitt pen on 64# Canson sketching paper.
It shows Marshall Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda) dancing with Clementine (and, I'm sorry, but I don't recall the actress' name). Wyatt is holding the lady's wrap as they dance, possibly a polka. Clementine had on a straw hat with a ring of flowers around the crown. There were alternating white and dark flowers in the decoration, along with a ribbon that flowed at the back. Her blouse had matching ribbon on the sleeves and at the neck. I imagined that she had on a powder blue, long skirt. I don't know why I thought that, since it was in black and white!
There were lots of good images for drawing in that movie, but I liked the way that Clementine's skirt and the ribbon on her hat flowed, and the lines of Wyatt lifting his knee high, with his body straight, as they danced.
One change I need to make is to add Wyatt's coat. I have him dancing in his shirt, but, I realized yesterday that he should have on his suit coat. I was trying to get in the line of his back, hips, legs, and head and didn't think of adding the coat before the scene changed, at the time I was sketching.
Some other actors in the movie were Ward Bond, Victor Mature, and John Ireland. There were others who are very familiar, but I can't think of their names. Of course, John Ford directed.
"Stagecoach" is another western with Tim that I always watch, and was another John Ford movie, starring John Wayne. More images to practice.
I'll have to see what else is going to be on tv tonight while the Super Bowl is on. I'm not in the mood for drawing football players. The cable went off to the tv in the den this afternoon and nothing seemed to make it come back on. It wouldn't change channels last night and we discovered that the batteries were dead in the remote-we thought. But, later, it started working. Now, it was working, then changed to snow and static. Calls to the cable company didn't help. They said they could come out Tuesday to look at it! So, it looks like we won't have our usual Super Bowl party in the den. We can watch things in our bedrooms, though.
I don't know any of the teams or any of the players, so I'm really not interested. I could do some gesture drawings, but I have other things I would rather do.
Wishing Kathryn the best on her retirement!
Brazos Valley Art League meeting at noon tomorrow, Art Center in College Station.
I signed up for a new list for February called "A Thing A Day". The idea is for participants to create one new thing a day during February-a picture, a cake, a recipe, sculpture, anything creative. Then post it on the site. It started as a university project for grad students a couple of years ago. Deadline to sign up was last night at midnight.
I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it, though. It takes me so long to post things! And I have quite a few other things going. We'll see what happens.
Too many new tricks for this "old dog" to learn.
Be sure to check out my sidebar for things that are going on, and to look at various sites.
Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and sign my Guest Book, if you haven't already.
Another "new discovery" is Facebook. That's very interesting. I've found so many people that I haven't seen in a long time.
We may need to do a rain dance or something. It's getting too dry, and with wind, and dry cold fronts, that makes for fire danger.