Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Paint for Joy, Not Perfection!

A while back... maybe a few months, maybe a year, I drew this out on a canvas at school to show students how easy it is to grid a portrait quickly and precisely. It's from a photo that I took of Kylie in our old house.. so the photo is easily a few years old! Anyway...  I drew it and then moved on.

Last night I had some paint out on the palette left over from the painting I just finished so I decided to just paint the portrait.

And so I did. Complete with children that had to be fed, Doug away at a meeting and life happening all around. I got the basic face done before bed. After everyone was asleep I was able to work about an hour in peace. It's a rare gift.

Then this morning, I finished the painting up. You can see the photo that I worked from in the picture below.

Here is a close up. The oil paint is still wet.

 And here is Kylie showing off her portrait.

So why do I give you the back story and not just the finished piece? Because I think it is important for the viewer of the painting to know that I paint for the joy of it. Not for perfection.

I have the ability to paint it perfectly. But that would be incredibly time consuming and frustrating. If I simply want an exact copy, I can order an enlargement of the photo easily. 

But I paint for the joy of painting. Painting is good for my soul. It makes me calm down, take a deep breath and enjoy the process. So much of life is about hurrying and "getting things done."   Granted, I still paint incredibly quickly. All in, I painted the portrait in a total of less than 6 hours... and all but about an hour of it was with my "groupies." The little girls even painted next to me this morning. It's good for their souls to paint too.

People are all the time saying to me that they can't paint, or they don't have any artistic skill or that they "can't even draw a stick figure.." My answer is to do it anyway. 

The more we create, the more we have the capacity to create. 

We have to move past the expectation that our paintings should be exact copies of what we are looking at, or perfectly executed, or even "pretty" to look at. There is something incredibly cathartic about mixing paint on a canvas. Sure, when the colors mixed actually look like the color you wanted, it's great, but that takes time and practice. I am constantly amazed that people think being able to draw and/or paint realistic things/objects/people is supposed to be easy. But that everything else we learn to do, be it read, tie our shoes, throw a football or even drive a car is expected to take effort, practice and a lot of work. Why should art be any different? 

Someone along the way said it was "easy" and he/she LIED!

So, here is my challenge to all of you out there. Stop giving up before you even start! Go buy a cheap canvas and some paint. And paint. Paint a rainbow if that's what you loved to paint as a child. Or a Ninja Turtle.. or a car or a tree. You could even just put the paint on the canvas in a random pattern!

But create. Today. Not for perfection. For the JOY!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Boots and Spurs or Glitter and Bows

In the midst of the crazy week, I had the chance to be a part of a gender reveal party! It was soo much fun! The theme we created was "Boots and Spurs or Glitter and Bows."

Here is the invite that I made.

A few days before the party Crystal and her daughter came over and we made decorations. We had a blast! Kylie and Victory played and stayed out of the way (win!) and Lexi helped make decorations!

Here are Lexi and Crystal making tissue pom poms.

Then they made a tulle table topper/tutu.. 

it is now the infamous GLITTER "thing" in our house.



Apparently the grout in our tile REALLY, REALLY likes pink glitter!!

Anyway..while they were glittering the floor, I was glittering the table. I made the cupcake toppers.

Party day arrived and ran from art camp to getting things together for the big reveal. The girls each wore the color they thought the baby would be!

Crystal came up with the CUTEST photo booth idea using plastic tablecloths! LOVE IT! And we put together a bucket of girl and boy stuff so that guests could take their picture with what they thought Mandi was having.

Didn't the cupcakes turn out cute!

And we even had pink and blue punch!

 Everyone had to vote!

And the reveal.... 

PINK!!! A perfect compliment to Mandi's two boys!

 It was a fun evening and we can't wait to meet their little girl!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Whew. Let me take a breath and get back to you!

Man, we have been BUSY the last few weeks. We had lots of vacation and then I did a sprint tri last weekend followed by art and theatre camp all this week! This weekend was a chance to relax a little, workout a little and I even painted.

Here is my painting from today.

I have tons of photos to go through, then I'll recap the week from art camp. It was a great week!

Friday, July 11, 2014

My new Fuji Sportif

I'm getting ready to complete another sprint triathlon this weekend! I am super excited about it and decided that this was the time to get my own bike. One of my friends loaned me her bike for my first tri and while I totally appreciated the bike, it's not a made for road racing.

So after some research and advice from friends, I went and got me a bike!

Well, it wasn't that simple.

Kylie and I went to a couple of different bike stores and at one place, we couldn't even get a worker to acknowledge that we were in the store!! Sorry, but I'm not spending hundreds of dollars in your store when you can't be bothered to even say hi!

So we ended up at Performance Bikes. They were FABULOUS!!! I could not be more pleased with their attention and efforts to get me on the right bike! In fact, at one point it looked like the bike that really would be best for me wasn't available to them any longer, but a competitor down the street said they had one. They told me that while they would love to help me, they wanted what was best for me. So they sent me over to the competitor store with the list of specs. Turns out the competitor lied. Yep. So glad I had the list or I wouldn't have remembered the details. When I pushed the salesperson about it, he said.. "well, we just told them that we had something "similar", not that we had THAT bike." 

So Kylie and I loaded back up and went back over to Performance Bike. Side note: while I spent an hour trying different bikes, they let Kylie ride around the store on the three kid bikes and talk to all of the workers! She LOVED the store. That helped tremendously!

In the end, they fitted me for a bike that is awesome for me. It's an entry level racing bike, which means if I ever get like super fast and all that, I'd have to upgrade, but since that's not likely, I think this bike is perfect for me.

So what bike did I get? 

A Fuji Sportif. I know that there are lots of numbers and codes and such that go with it, but all I can give you is the name and that it's blue!

Below Andrew is holding the bike. He wasn't supposed to work the day I needed to come in and pick up the bike. But he rearranged his work schedule so that he could make sure I was fitted exactly to the bike and all that jazz. (They had to build me a bike, so I couldn't just take it the first day...)

And here I am.

Ready for my first ride.
10 miles done.My time was way faster and I'm still learning how to change gears! I can't wait till Sunday!

So all of that to say, if you need a bike, I would highly recommend Performance Bike in Fort Worth, Texas on Hulen St. I get no kickback for sending you, but feel free to tell them that I sent you! They might not remember me, but I'm sure they will remember Kylie!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The July 4th Parade

I've been attending the July 4th parade in our home town for years. As a child, I participated in the parade on various floats, I twirled a baton in the parade, dressed as characters and on and on.  As an adult, I've handed out fliers on the parade route and probably participated in a float or two.

But I have to say, it was with a tear in my eye that we watch this year's parade. It was another piece of the high school era that started with Maddie! She's in color guard and they marched!

Here we are set up to watch the parade.

You have to set up early for small town parades like ours. Otherwise, you might not get a seat! It was packed all along the parade route.

One of the coolest things about living in the 'ville is that adults with special needs are part of our daily life. In fact, they have their own boy scout troop and they lead the parade with one of the younger troops.

Also in the 'ville we do the typical floats of beauty queens and cheerleaders... but how bout the high school Football Team!! Go Jackets!

And after a dozen police cars and every fire truck in the tri county area, we get to our Yellow Jacket Band! Thankfully marching ahead of the horses! 

Maddie is one of the guard members! She is in the middle row, furthest from my camera. ugh. I didn't think to ask her which side of the street I needed to be on!

But another one of the great things about our town... we all parent each other kids... and we take pictures of them! Debbie took this picture of Maddie and I love it!!  So thankful for our village!

So if you have never been to a small town Texas parade, I invite you to ours. We have the July 4th parade, but we also do Rodeo parades, a homecoming parade for the local university and some years, when we win the state football championship, we have a parade for that too!