Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Journy to Zambia-The Beginning

My journey to Zambia began three years ago.

It all started with a missionary report by one of our church deacons. The report was on the Namwianga Mission that the Smith Springs Church of Christ had been supporting for over 25 years.

Here is a synopsis of the report.

  • Roy and Kathi Merritt live at the Namwianga Mission in Zambia where they run an orphanage with the support of many Churches of Christ. The whole compound is called "The Haven". At the time of the report, it was comprised of Eric’s House, Eleanor's House, Kelly's House and a new baby house to be built.
  • "Eleanor's House" is named in memory of Eleanor Mann of Victoria, Canada. Eleanor supported orphan care in Zambia as far back as the 1940s.
  • "Kelly's House" honors Kelly Hamby, a great supporter of the work in Zambia.
  • "Eric's House" is named after Eric Rickner. Eric's family has supported work in Zambia from back before World War II. Eric's legacy built the house where older children stay with Kathi and Roy.
  • Roy and Kathi hoped to begin building a new house for the babies as the mission deals with AIDS daily. Many babies have syphilis and HIV and most of the deaths are AIDS-related. However, 95% of the children are in fine health. Without the Haven, nearly all of these would have died a week or two after their birth.

At hearing of this mission particularly about the babies, my heart just seemed to reach out. On the way home from Church I told Jack, “I would really like to see the AIDS babies one day”.

Little did I know that this would be the beginning of my journey to Zambia!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Ladies Craft Fair

Here are some pictures of the ladies craft fair day held in October. It was held in our gym and we raised around $3,000 for the Zambia Mission.

I donated the paintings to the left. Faith, hope,
and love. It was a wonderful day.

Friday, April 25, 2008


This painting was a joy to complete. It is so bright and cheerful. The colors range from deep dark red to brilliant orange.

16 x 20
acrylic on canvas

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods
30" x 40"
acrylic on canvas

I have finally completed this painting after taking time off to stay with my mother after her heart surgery. I have added a lot of texture with just a little hint of a path through the woods.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I am having so much fun painting this flower from life. It changes everyday so I will have to paint it quickly before the bloom fades.

I am painting it in the fashion of Georgia O'Keeffe, who is one of my favorite artists.

This painting is 16 x 20 and is painted with acrylics.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Progress on my paintings has suffered these last two weeks due to distractions that are just part of daily life. On January 10th as I was painting on "A Walk In the Woods" we had a storm that knocked out the power for a few hours. I was in the middle of painting the foreground foliage and suddenly no power. I had to put away my paints and clean my brushes by candle light. I decided to let the painting dry for a few days.

My next distraction was a good one, I sold two paintings on ebay. This is not usually a distraction, but I discovered that if I could be out of a supply item used in shipping a painting, I was out of it. My printer was out of ink, so I couldn't print the COA. The price of the printer cartridge I used had gone up so much, it was more economical for me to buy a new printer. So then it was necessary for me to install a new printer.

Next, I needed to purchase a box large enough to ship a large painting. The company I usually buy my boxes from had moved, but I finally located them only to find out that they no longer make the size box I needed. This forced me to have to cut two boxes down and create a single box out of them. More time expended figuring this out.

Then to top it all off, the store where I usually buy styrofoam sheets to create packing crates for the paintings was out of them. I had to quickly rethink my shipping procedures and used the pink insulation foam product that is about twice the price of styrofoam.

Lesson learned from this distraction is that I need to restock my supplies before I list my paintings on ebay. What should have taken one afternoon, turned into a three day ordeal.

On Friday, I was excited to see that the Amaryllis bulbs, my friend Kathy gave to me for Christmas, were in full bloom. They are just sooooo beautiful, I just could not resist painting them. So I have started a new work featuring one of these large blossoms.

I will get back to painting the woods after I get my fill of painting these plants. It is incredible having them pose for me in such bright living color.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

WIP - A Walk in the Woods

Yesterday, I added detail to the middle ground trees, painted in the leaves and blocked in the foreground large trees. Today, I will be considering the color for the bark of the foreground trees. I was originally planning to paint them as aspens with their dramatic black and white trunks, but on further consideration, the white trunks will focus your eyes away from the path that leads into the woods. In the reference photo I am using, there is no path and the trees are aspens. But since I want to walk into those woods, I added the path. It creates a dilemma. Since I need to fill in the middle ground foliage under the trees, I will do it first so that I can get a clearer idea about what color the foreground trees should be and define the central focus of the painting.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

WIP - A Walk in the Woods

I have started the second tier of trees - the middle ground by blocking in the dark color of the leaves. I will go back and add some sky peeking through, add some limbs, and highlights to the leaves today. Since this is a large painting, 30 x 40 inches, I find that doing each layer in steps helps to get an overall feeling of depth on the painting. I will also be adding a layer of middle level undergrowth foliage, and maybe an old tree fallen along the path.

Unfortunately today, I have also scheduled myself to put away the Holiday decorations. Housekeeping is not one of my strong qualities. Maybe I will have time to do it between drying times. Hm mm...sounds like a good plan to me.

Monday, January 07, 2008

WIP - A Walk in the Woods

My current "work in progress" is tentatively titled, A Walk in the Woods.

The painting depicts early autumn trees (there is still green in the color of the leaves) from the perspective of someone standing at the edge of a forest and getting ready to walk down a path that leads into a wooded area.

I have just finished the background trees. I plan to have three levels of trees, background, middle ground and foreground. I will be working on the middle ground trees today. I am a little obsessed about this painting and feel nervous about taking the next step with the trees.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

More Dog Walk Paintings

Irises have truely been my favorite floral subject inspired by my morning walks with Noel. For the past two years they have come up abundantly along my next door neighbor's fence and have been a blessing to pass by each day. Noel and I look forward to Spring when the irises will grace our morning travels again. The scene will have a new look as our neighbor painted his fence a light yellow this summer. It will be interesting. These two paintings were the result of 2007's growing season.

Purple Bearded Irises #1
12 x 24 inches
acyrlic on canvas

Purple Bearded Irises #2
12 x 24 inches
acyrlic on canvas

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Dog Walk Paintings

No matter the weather outside, Noel insists on going on a walk every morning. Noel is a three year old dog, part border collie part, great Pyrenees, weights about 75 pounds and is mostly white except for her face which has the typical border collie coloring.

On our walks, Noel goes about marking spots, checking out mailboxes and doing her business. I, on the other hand, take this time to communicate with God. It is my time to reflect on the blessings he has given me, to confess my shortcomings, and to ask for guidance for the day.

Sometimes during our walks God blesses me with a beautiful vision of his glory in the form of nature. During the spring, I am blessed with the sprouting of tulips and irises, in the summer roses and zinnias, in the fall the trees give magnificent leaves, and in the winter the architecture of the trees. I am often inspired to put these visions on canvas.

Special Delivery, A Gift for the Postman is one of these blessings. One day Noel and I traveled down a street which we don't usually take during our morning walks. There I saw a mailbox arrayed with a beautiful clematis vine in full bloom. One special bloom was bursting out of the mailbox reaching for the sky. We walked on this street each day for about two weeks, just to see the glorious site. And then it was gone, the flowers faded away, but I have it on canvas to remember those days.

"Special Delivery: A Gift for the Postman"
24 x 36 inches
acrylic on canvas


Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Tulip Garden #2

The painting is a study of the effects of light and shadow on the tulips and the creeping flox. The sunlight, white and clear, bleaches the center tulips of most of their color, and the trees in the background are throwing dark shadows on the foreground and background flowers.

The Tulip Garden #2
24 x 36 inches
acyrlic on canvas

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Palette Knife Paintings

While most of my work is strictly brushwork, occasionally I get the hankering to apply the paint with a palette knife. I absolutely love the texture created with the knife. I love to feel the paintings after they are completed. They are so touchable. My most recent palette knife paintings are of sunflowers.

"Sunflower #4"
12 x 24 inches
acrylic on canvas

Close up photos of details.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year! 2008

It's time to take a moment to reflect on the past year's work and make an inventory. I thougth I might share my favorite paintings from the past year.

This painting was actually completed in 2006, but it is one of my favorites. These purple blossoms were growing along my next door neighbor's fence. One Spring morning as I walked my dog, Noel, I admired the beauty of the deep-purple draping petals and the delicacy of the lighter purple upward reaching petals.

"Irises Along the Fence"
30" x 40"
acrylic on canvas

I thank God for the vision of these beautiful flowers growing along the fence, the privilege of walking my dog each morning, and the inspiration to put these blossoms on canvas.