Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Hearts For Haiti

It's time to send in your heart creations to the Painted Thoughts website, listed in the post below this one, if you haven't already. The 29th actually was the date, but the artist extended the date to over the weekend to give more people an opportunity to participate. I actually did 6. I didn't like the first two at all, especially after I saw some of the other submissions on the Everyday Matters website. Those were really good! So, I went back to the old drawing board, and even looked at all the Valentines displays in the stores.
I'm not really a "heart person", but I figured that I could draw one for a good cause. So, I got some of those little ATC or ACEO papers at Hobby Lobby, pulled out my pen and my watercolors, and tried.
I kind of liked my little cowboy heart, but decided that the result was too weak. Another design with overlapping hearts also looked like it was very lacking and needed to be reworked.
Above, I have "Yellow Rose of Texas... For Haiti"; "Many Hearts Coming Together....For Haiti"; "Delicate Heart...For Haiti"; and "Dainty Heart....For Haiti"; and "A Big Heart From Texas...For Haiti's Heart To Lean On". All are 2.5" x 3.5" on Strathmore acid free Bristol Board or Strathmore acid free watercolor paper.
I'm not sure which one I'm going to send to the project, yet, but I am leaning toward the "Delicate Heart" with the light purple. It may be too light , though, and the "Dainty Heart", with the darker pink, might show up better.
If you like the hearts and would like to purchase one, let me know. The proceeds will go to the Helping Haiti Through Art project.
The Brazos Valley Art League meets tomorrow, Monday, at noon at the Art Center in College Station. There will be a watercolor demonstration by award winning artist, Nellie Kress. Visit with other artists and those who enjoy art before the meeting starts.
And, be sure to go downtown Bryan February 5 for the big Art Step. You can read more about it online through Great Watkins, the Brazos Valley Art League Newsletter, or the Downtown Bryan Association's website.
The Art League will be showing at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, downtown.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Helping Haiti Through Art

Painted Thoughts
Here's something that you can do to help the people in Haiti. I just found this through the Everyday Matters group and thought I would share it with you. It's something that almost anyone could do to participate.
Just create a heart painting or design. Scan it in high resolution, and send it to the link above by midnight Januray 29. This should be one of those small ACEO (playing card) size designs.
Plans are for her to use photo shop to put all the designs into one larger design, then possibly put them onto something like t-shirts or a poster. The orignals could be sold or auctioned off for additional funds. I would imagine that it depends on how many she receives.
I know that there are people who just love to design hearts or doodle hearts, so get busy and contribute your own heart designs.
They really aren't my "thing", and neither is working that small, but I plan to do something to contribute.
We all want to do all we can to help and most of us can't go to Haiti or give big amounts of money. But we can do little things like this, which, when combined with others', makes a big thing.
Just thought I would share this with you.
Check out the blog at Painted Thoughts,
Here is another link for information on helping in Haiti. I saw Dr. Bill Frist on tv over the weekend, as he worked as a doctor in Haiti. He said he had gone with Samaritan's Purse, Franklin Graham's organization. Greta Van Susterin had tried to go into Haiti with them, right away, but they couldn't land and had to come back to the U.S. I guess that the plane with doctors, etc., got through later.
The website said that they are just using professionals, right now, such as doctors and nurses, but will be asking for volunteers later. So, if you want to volunteer, that might be a good opportunity for you.
Samaritan's Purse International Relief I think that is correct.
There are lots of organizations who are legitimate and do good work.
I saw an ad on tv for the Methodist church, too.
A&M United Methodist Church in College Station is building a second portable clinic from a container to send. They need some contributions to finish it out, and volunteers who want to work on it.
On the news, they said that the container was paid for, they just need more money for finishing the clinic.
They had already built one, before the earthquake, and it was the only one of its kind that survived the quake.
Everyone wants to help.
Wouldn't it be a good thing if things like this clinic were already in place and ready to go to anywhere tragedy strikes.
It seemed like it took way too long for the help that was needed, and is still needed, to get to Haiti. I think we need General Honore to be in charge and get things done-fast.
Wouldn't it be horrible to be one of those poor people trapped, or needing water and food, and, certainly, those who need medical care.
We just hope and pray for the people of Haiti, and everywhere, who are suffering.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Waiting Room

Man in Waiting Room
5.5" x 8.5"
Ink & Watercolors
I got there early for my doctor's appointment-I thought. I sat in the waiting room, with my sketchbook. Several interesting-looking people were there, but I only had time to work on this man next to me. There was a tv monitor and those little posters on a table between us, so I couldn't see a lot of his face and shoulder. When I was called into the doctor's office, I finally could see his nose and chin. So, some of this was done later and probably doesn't look like the man. But it was an interesting study of a man in overalls, wearing a cowboy hat.
His skin and hat are much lighter than in life. I don't have a good, dark brown, and didn't want to take the time to build up layers of color, as one should!
There's going to be a watercolor workshop in Somerville at ArtC's. More information about it on the Brazos Valley Art League website at
"Mastering Color" will be conducted by artist Karen Vernon . February 9 and 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. $200 for the two day workshop. RSVP by Feb. 5. Space is limited. Contact You can see more about Karen on her website at
Check out Virginia Vaughan's blog or website for information about her upcoming workshops. or . Fredericksburg is one location where she will be conducting a three day workshop Feb. 5-7. You will really enjoy working with V....!
I found an interesting blog called Congestive Heart Failure Diary-Artists Blog. Look up Victoria Behm at,,20307109_1,000html. I hope that link works. I just googled "Congestive Heart Failure Diary-Artists Blog" and got it. Otherwise, I found it on a site for a health magazine.
Her experience was somewhat different from mine, but it was interesting to see her art work and what she went through.
Look at the Hearne High School page on Facebook. I added some old photos there. It's really interesting to find people on Facebook, and see what is going on.
I'm updating the events in my sidebar for the Brazos Valley Art League.
Also, the 26th World Wide Sketch Crawl will be Saturday Feb. 27. Check out their website at . I registered on their forum, but I hope we can have some participation from the Brazos Valley this time. I couldn't go last time due to my surgery, but I still participated by drawing my "exciting surroundings" that day. My walker, the tv... It doesn't matter so much what you draw or your style, just draw whatever is around you, wherever you might be.
I'm looking for some suggestions, and some participants!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A New Year-A New Decade

New Years Day at Toot's
8.5 " x 11"
I don't know anyone who really celebrated New Years Day in Calvert, when I was growing up. A lot of people did eat their black eyed peas and cornbread and watch a football game or two on tv
but that didn't seem like a big celebration, to me. I just tried to avoid anyone who was eating vegetables that day and just hung around the house.
Most people went to bed after the news, or, perhaps stayed up to watch Dick Clark or listen to the famous orchestra playing "Auld Lang Syne" when we got tv. But, then it was off to sleep. There was no champagne toasts or revelry. Someone on the outskirts of town might set off firecrackers and start dogs in town barking. And, the Briggs went outside at midnight and rang the large old school bell that was in their yard. After that, we knew that it was the new year, and fell back to a deep sleep.
The only person I knew who seemed to really work at having a traditional New Years Day was Toot. She and Honey lived across the street from us, and I spent a lot of time there-practically a second home.
Honey got up every morning, except Sunday, at 4 a.m. and drove to Waco for fresh produce for his grocery store in Calvert. And Toot got up before him, to have a nice breakfast ready for him.
On New Years Day, I guess he must have still gone to the store because he wasn't there, just like any other week day.
After the breakfast dishes were done, Toot set about cooking her special New Years dinner (the noon meal in Texas). Black eyed peas were bubbling on the stove, and cornbread was in the oven. Toot didn't eat very much because she had had part of her stomach removed when she was middle aged, and, I think, she wanted to stay trim and attractive for Honey. There might be left-over Sunday roast, sometimes turned into hash, and bread pudding. And, of course, a glass of water and a cup of coffee from the percolator.
As the parades started on tv, Toot would go into the hall closet and get out one of her card tables. She took that into the everyday sitting room, or den, and set it up in the middle of the room, near the tv.
She put a bridge cloth on the table, added napkins, and brought out every day china, silverware, and glassware from the kitchen. She put the chair from the Secretary on one side of the table, and a small chair from beside a window opposite it. As she carefully set the little table, she watched the Cotton Bowl and Rose Bowl Parades.
She really looked forward to the Rose Bowl Parade, especially. She made her trips out of the room really fast so she wouldn't miss any of the parades. She loved flowers and worked really hard in her yard. She was impressed with the use of flowers in the parade and seemed to dwell on every blossom and seed.
At dinner time, Honey came home and dutifully ate, silently, at the card table, while Toot was intent on watching the parade.
Dinner over and dishes done, Toot put away the card table and took a short nap. Dress came off and she slept in her slip on a quilt on the floor where the card table had been.
When I was there, I went in and out, hoping to go be with my friends. But, Toot would bring out the stool from the dressing table in the guest bedroom, "for the kids", and place it at the card table. There was a second stool, in case my little sister came over, or if any other company would show up.
Sometimes Irvin or Daddy would drop by and have a taste of dessert.
Toot would spend the afternoon with callers who might drop by, or reading magazines, or darning socks.
For supper, there was left overs and tv, with Honey going to bed early.
For me, I was just looking forward, anxiously, to the next day-my birthday!
In the drawing above, I started by drawing the room in pencil, then I went over it with Micron and Pitt pens. Then I added Toot, so you can see a line through her ! Later, I used Winsor Newton watercolors to add a little color. I think I like it better in pen!
This is in a Reflexions 8.5" x 11" sketch book.
I tried to show the corner of the every day sitting room, the den, where the tv was located. The candy jar with peppermint candy is on top of the set. Above the set is the little shelf that Toot had made into the wall where she put an electric clock and a few knick knacks.
The room was basically done in browns.
The wide window on the east side showed the shrubs and lawn beyond the porch, the empty lot and street, just in front of the school. You can see the gym, parking lot , and north end of the school. The window on the south side showed an empty field that filled with Indian Paintbrushes in the spring-until some people bought the lots and built homes there in more recent years. You can see the house where the Nash family lived on the corner on the next street, and the house where Doris Johnson lived next to it. The roof of the Lange house is just beyond the trees.
Mud Creek Mountains are the trees that rise on the horizon. Weekly, we could see smoke from the trash being burned at the garbage dump at the edge of town, just over the trees.
Toot's house was rather interesting. Her father had it built just behind his house on Railroad Street as a wedding present when she married in 1913. It was a prefab house, built by Sears. He completely furnished the house for the newlyweds, except for the kitchen. He insisted that the couple have all their meals with him!
There were 3 large cotton gins downtown, that put out a great deal of lint, etc. during ginning time. The stuff floated everywhere and filled almost every window screen in town. People had to frequently hose or sweep down the screens and, the closer you were to town, the more often the screens, and everything else, had to be cleaned. It wasn't as bad toward the school, far away from the gin, but, the closer you were to town, the worse it was. I guess that the wind direction didn't help, either.
Toot suffered terribly with sinus trouble. The doctor even prescribed "medicated" cigarettes for her, but nothing worked. He finally unpacked her sinuses that were filled with cotton lint.
In 1939, her father died. Honey bought lots near the school, and their cottage was moved in 1940, on logs, pulled by oxen, to the new location in front of the school.
Toot still suffered from sinus trouble and allergies, as a lot of people did, but, at least, they were further away from the cotton gins.
The house still stands, although changed somewhat from when Toot lived there. She is probably not very happy that her beloved flowers and magnolia trees are all gone.
It was a special place.