Thursday, November 27, 2014

A former life . . .

Plaza lighting from atop the Swanson's building
And such a big part of my former life. I lived and worked on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City for so many years waiting tables at the last of the owner-operated restaurants on the Plaza. All of the rest of them were corporate 'chain type' places but this one was special for so many reasons.  The owner, Cliff Bath, played it like a fine instrument. A true restauranteur.

Harry Starker's Restaurant
Here I made friendships that have lasted 30+ years. We have stayed in touch, watched each other's kids grow and lives change. We moved away and we came back - we couldn't wait to get away but couldn't wait to get back. And we marvel at how old we are and how we ever managed to stay up past 1:am every night of the week. This place was magic and how we manage to remain connected is no mystery. Pure magic.

Stores on the Plaza were unique - there was a teeny grocery store, a bowling alley, a large theater and a small one with several screens, so popular in the 70s. A dimestore, a bookseller, a needlepoint shop, a record store with booths where you could play a record before you made your purchase, a fabric store, a florist who knew you bought daisies every Friday, the shoe store where my first rockin' shoe purchase started it all for me, and several large retail stores but unique to Kansas City. Harzfeld's, Hall's, Swanson's, Woolf Brothers, Cricket West. In the 80s those blocks were bought up by the usual big guys - Saks, Bonwit Teller, all of them the usual mall experience.
Carriage rides - Nichols Road on the Plaza

I lived at 4726 Summit at the west end of the road pictured here - a darling apartment for which I paid $100 a month and I worried every month that I couldn't scrape that together. Still, I could walk back and forth to work at midnight and not worry. Maybe I was just young and had no fear but Kansas City and especially the Plaza was a wonderful, safe place to be. 

I know we all must pine for the 'good old days' but this is one instance where I truly wish the Plaza could have retained that individuality. I suppose it's difficult to reclaim that when the big box guys pay their rents on time. Predictability is good. But still . . . 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dundee Gallery and the Gift of Unique . . .

 My favorite little gallery in Omaha - the Dundee Gallery - is officially closing its doors at the end of December and I am crying huge crocodile tears. My work has been there since shortly after opening and I have come to love this place.  Beautifully curated by gallery owner Jean Imray, the Dundee Gallery is chock full of artists' work that is colorful, unique, artfully made and always inspiring. I could not be sadder that the gallery is going dark.

I have placed a large amount of my inventory with Jean for the holiday shopping season and know that her last two months will have tremendous sales. Come January, anything not sold will be online but don't wait!


If you live in Omaha, Shop Small and please visit the gallery a few times before Christmas and Hanukkah and pick up your special gifts, your big gifts, and your small gifts. Support your local artists and makers and give the gift of unique.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rock Creek . . .

 The early Spring rains have paid off here in Davey, Nebraska!  Even with the damage of hail and wind and that old tornado, things have flourished.  Finally.
Lush : I love my patio in the morning

(okay : a little crabgrass, too)

Front walk : Baby Talk

marse connell

Welcome home

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Daylily time once again . . .

I wait impatientlyly for this time of year when the daylilies begin to bloom and continue almost through August.  We're mid-bloom now, here in mid-July, and I take a 'crop tour' every morning to check on my crop of blooms.  Some are absolutely luscious and some I have faded on as years go by but I still love them all - so forgiving and hardy.  And I have a couple of surprise 'volunteers' this year that took root and bloomed where I never planted them - go figure.  They have their own ideas.

Volunteer - I think this may be Hot Toddy but I have no idea how it ended up where it is

David Kirchoff - highly scented, like a gardenia

Tropic Thunder


Bright Sunset

hmmmm . . . 


Cimarron Knight

Antique Ruffled Lavender

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's been quite a day here in Davey, Nebraska . . .

Yesterday started with just thunderstorm warnings and I figured it would mostly be heavy rain.  I did not figure for this.  When the hail first started, I brought in two little guys that were pretty big by my standards - maybe nickel size.  Went to the back porch and this started.  
This is when I decided to watch from the porch

My poor umbrella took one for the team.
Amazingly, the garden survived.

The windows on the Saturn did not.
Jeez Louise.

Bedroom deck. Composite flooring . . .

 . . . with a hole.  From hail.

Poor little Shasta

Takes a licking - keeps on ticking

These holes are 3"-4" across and 2" deep

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Shasta time . . .

I dragged the sweet old Shasta out this week for a little spiffing up, scrubbing and dusting and window washing - things I avoid doing in my big house, of course.  Next weekend it goes on a short trip to Seward, Nebraska, so we can use it as our home base while at our aerobatic contest there.

I know I've posted some of this before but holy smokes! I love having this little jewel - like a doll house with just enough room for two.  I have no idea who the four people were that the advertisers thought could share this space well.  I love my husband but he's the only one I could fit in well with.  

I had the pull-out sofa/bed reupholstered last summer and it completed the interior.  Simple in charcoal grey to match the original linoleum in beige, copper pink, turquoise and grey.  Piped the bed in turquoise so it blends with the turquoise bench seats at the dinette.

I sewed the curtains from a vintage-style cotton and pillows in lime with tiny ball fringe and found two little accent pillows (okay, I over-spent on those) for the banquette.

The exterior?  I am leaning toward leaving it as is.  It is faded cream and turquoise and I love it that way.  I see so many Shastas that are painted all "too too cute" and that simply isn't me.  I like the patina of age and the faded outlines of insignia missing.  If anything, I'll have a friend pinstripe the lightning bolt stripe for a bit of zip but going slow and not making radical changes.

Love.  Love.  Love.
Seriously small but how could not love this?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Scrap . . .

I just could not bring myself to throw away this little scrap of Arches paper even tho' it measures less than 2" wide by 12".  I taped it to a board trying to leave anything white to paint on and ended up getting about an inch to play with.  Clearly not a masterpiece but working smaller scratches my 'tightness' itch in my hand/eye and lets me get as much impact in a small area as possible.

Thinking I'll have this matted and framed and see how it turns out. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Late Winter . . .

Late Winter
Another one hour (more or less) painting I did last night.  I had a strip of watercolor paper that was going to be used as a test strip, something I keep at hand when painting so I can see value and color on paper before I apply what I've mixed on my brush.  But I loved the size (3ish by 8ish) so I taped it to my board and dug into my photos to see what worked.

I'm hooked on Nebraska and South Dakota landscapes right now after our little trip over Mother's Day weekend to the Black Hills by way of the Nebraska Sandhills.  I wish I knew how far we could see into the distance as the low hills and bluffs faded away into grey and pale blue sky.  Twenty miles?  Thirty miles?  More?  The expanse gave us a sense of how small we really are in comparison, you know, and I could not quit taking pictures of it all.  For me, the mountains just got in the way of the view and almost all of my photos are of the broad expanses of grasslands and skies.

This particular scene is no more than 50yds from my front door, however, Big Traveler that I am.  A late winter snow was coming in from the west and I put on my parka and ventured out the drive to the middle of the gravel road and took this photo.  The sky was lowering and grey and in the distance the snow was starting to blur the horizon, not yet blanketing the fields and cedars.  Love playing with skies and atmosphere and remembering that a sky doesn't have to be blue to be expressive.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Gerbera : a Sunday hour . . .

Simple gesture-style painting.
One hour allotted makes me eliminate all of the unnecessary bits of background and detail allows me to give just a sense of the subject.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Developing . . .

I am trying to find the mental art-link between the metalwork I am used to doing and the watercolor I am getting used to doing.  Is the link the color?  
The high contrast?  The composition?  

Or is it the difference between the two media that captures me?

Is it the color mixing?  The achievement of depth?  The lack of edge?  
Or letting the materials do their little jobs?

I would love to give credit for the reference photos I used in this composition but no idea where they came from.  Only that I saved and printed them a long time ago.  
So 'thank you' whoever you are.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Loosen the grip and lose the fear . . .

Rock Creek Road
I'm never sure where to quit.  I pull it off the board, I tape it to the fireplace or stick it to the fridge so I can live with it for a while before I decide but I fear overworking while I try to loosen my grip.  Loosen the grip - lose the fear. Mantra for the day.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Special project . . .

Smith-Albrecht Home
This is a special request I received by email from someone who had seen my barn painting.  I'm pleased with this one and hope you can see the little one in the doorway.  That sort of thing gives a simple painting life and including her is the spirit in the paint.

This one goes in the mail tomorrow.
I hope this home portrait finds a happy owner.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

High Wind Warning . . .

High Wind Warning
Trying my hand at quick watercolor to start to loosen my grip.  This one took maybe 15 minutes, my personal time limit.  The subject particularly apropos lately as the wind will not let up and grass fires are everywhere, sadly.  Destruction has been minimal but this always has the potential to be devastating.

Be careful out there.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Goodbye etsy - hello BigCartel!

Yep.  Slowly moving my work off etsy and onto a cleaner, more modern site.

I'll admit that I finally got tired of seeing the same things on the landing page day after day, week after week, year after year, in spite of all of the complaints and ideas proposed to make etsy more sleek.  What began as a site for handmade and unique has finally turned into a site where everything is welcome to the point where anything handmade can mean truly artisan work created from start to finish by a single artist to cheap charms hung on a cheap chain.  Don't get me started on the dishes from the garage sale next door.  I just can't compete.  Worse, I can't be found.

So I find BigCartel.  Sleek, modern, easy to use.  Gone are the teens and tweens and any mention of Hello Kitty.  If these people were craft and art show people, I would be proud to have my tent parked next to theirs.

Not sure my rant is over but do take a look and cruise through the BigCartel site - even my own shop site, if you have a few minutes to spare.  Tell me what you think.  I think it's a good fit.