Thursday, December 10, 2009

The View in My Backyard

During this season, this is the view that greets us almost nightly in our backyard. The deer alone...there are ten or eleven of them now... leisurely spend time with us. The cats are a humorous addition, and they seem to coexist quite peacefully.
The scene causes us to slow down and gather at the windows for a few quiet minutes together each day, and it provides a welcome respite from the hustle of daily life.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! If you celebrate, I hope that you thoroughly enjoyed the holiday! If not, I hope that you still found a few minutes to reflect on gratitude in your own special way.

I'll be participating in the Christmas Carousel Show this weekend at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. It's being held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in The Jim Graham Building; parking is free; and you'll find a discount coupon for show entry here .
My booth number will be 2315, and I'll be sharing with Olivia Dowdy-Brown, an amazingly creative artist. If you're in the area, I hope that you'll join us. If you mention that you read this on my blog, you'll receive a 10% discount on any purchases that you make in our booth.
If you're not in the area, and you're tempted by the idea of a good sale... please leave a comment here this weekend with a description or links to the pieces that you'd like to purchase, and I'll create a special discounted listing just for you in my store. :-)
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Sandhills Childrens Center provides a bevy of valuable services to our community here in North Carolina. Perhaps most importantly, they provide Hope. Hope to the children that they serve; Hope to their parents; and Hope to our community.

I created this Hope* pendant especially for them. Throughout the holiday season, half of all proceeds from the sale of this piece will be donated to The Childrens Center. You'll find it online in my Store on Etsy , in my 1000 Markets Store or in person at Artist Alley in Southern Pines, NC. If you're seeking the perfect Christmas Gift, teacher's gift, or stocking stuffer...or if you'd just like to make a donation to a worthy cause...please consider a gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

These Hands...

I've just returned from a whirlwind trip to Pennsylvania, and I'm scrambling to catch up. Tonight, I'm too tired for studio time or serious work, so I'm doing a bit of mindless photo editing.

I created this photo earlier this month to showcase my "Seek Balance" cuff bracelet. (I seem to be drawn to stamping words and sentiments that I need to hear. :-) ) Tonight while I was cropping the photo, I was struck by the appearance of my hands. They're hardworking hands, and this photo captured them in intimate detail in a way that I've failed to notice in real life.

My Dad had hardworking hands...the hands of a maintenance foreman in a steel mill; the hands of one who was quick to complete whatever needed to be done at a moments notice; and the hands of one who loved us with a gentle touch. My Grandma had hardworking hands too...riddled with arthritis, they were hands that nurtured ten children and countless grandchildren; hands that gestured when she spoke; and hands that never stopped even as they grew weary with age.

When I see my own hands, I imagine that there might be a similarity between mine and theirs. The very thought pleases me. And while I'll never know the intensity of effort that they or many others who went before me did; I've earned every callous and line, and I wouldn't trade a single one of them.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Strange Beauty

Since becoming the owner of Artist Alley, in each of the past three summers, a particular animal or insect has played a unusual role in my life.

First it was the grasshopper that spent the best part of the year both inside and outside of the gallery. We knew that it was him because one antenae was longer than the other.

Last year we were inundated by hummingbirds. Our solution was to place a feeder in front of the business, and they've been with us ever since.

This year seems to be the year of the most beautiful garden writing spiders. We've been watching two of them all summer long. If I happened upon them unexpectedly, I'm sure that they'd probably scare the bejeebers out of me. Instead, I've become truly fascinated by them and their habits. One has even created an egg sac that's about the size of a ripe fig. From what I understand Spring should bring even more of the little beauties to our backyard.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Showers Bring Snowy Flowers...

It looked like snow this week under the Bradford Pear Tree in front of Artist Alley. I love marking the seasons by the changes in this tree. I manage to get up-close-and-personal with it everyday. It seems to bloom overnight, and then just as quickly the petals are gone, and the tree is brilliant green. The rains lately have helped, and the effect is breathtaking.

Today I saw my first Wisteria of the year in full bloom too.

I love that.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Daddy Cat

Our cat, "Daddy Cat", died today. My heart is more than a little bit broken right now, and I question whether I could have done more.

Daddy was the leader of a family of feral cats that adopted us several years ago. A big black cat, you could tell that he'd had a hard life. We expected him to be a scrapper; but he was a cuddler instead. He first appeared solo on our side porch, and before long his family and several new additions had stolen our hearts.

We've made it a part of our daily routine to feed them, offer shelter, and seek medical attention on their behalf when needed. We'd love them when they'd let us, and let us they did whenever they were here.

I don't question that Daddy Cat was loved. He was, and is loved with all of our hearts, and I think that he knew it. I do question that I should have worked harder to find a proper home for him and his brood. Could I have found a way to offer them a home here with us instead of just shelter? Perhaps if I had, he would be alive today.

I'll never know for sure. I do know that I love him and miss him, and that he deserved a gentler end to his life.

My friend Lynn firmly believes in The Rainbow Bridge. I like that idea, and I do believe that he is in a better place

I have to believe that there's a better place for all of us.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gracie at Work

Meet Gracie. Generally, when I'm working in my studio you'll find her nearby. And when she's not there, Coco, Cody, or Penny usually are.

Gracie is different. She has more attitude than any cat I know, and this picture is worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, I'm too tired right now to think of a single one of them. :)

Maybe, when I eventually go public with this blog, I'll hold a caption contest.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

M4: Work In Process

Last weekend Artist Alley played host to The Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild (CMMAG) March Mixed Media Madness Challenge (M4). (Now THAT is a mouthful!)

In January, each M4 participant received an kit identical to the one shown here. The mission? To creatively breathe life into these random objects and assemble them as a cohesive piece of original artwork.

Eighteen artists completed the challenge, and these photos show my poor man-hands as they struggled to assemble my creation just hours before our First Friday Opening. Cuts and band aids...dirty and broken nails...callouses and was so worth it! Even my poor scissors took a beating when they met with my first ever real attempt to use resin in my work.

Photos of my finished piece, and some of the others, will follow soon.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Here I go again...

A new blog!?!

I know... I know... if my existing blog for Artist Alley is so often neglected, then why in the world am I starting another one?!?!?

This site will provide a more personal view of my work and my life. I'll use this space as an online journal to record my triumphs and challenges, and I'll chronicle the journey of my lifetime.

No fuss. No muss. Don't expect perfection. I like imperfections. In my life and in my art, they keep things interesting.