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Goodthoughts



Art, writing, and encouragement from Bluebird Studios.



Updated: 2014-02-11T17:52:52-05:00

 



Walking in Sunshine

2014-02-11T17:52:52-05:00

I loved the flying man image in my "7-Up Revival" collage and decided to try to use it again in a collage with a different story. Making art takes a lot of problem solving. Especially when you're trying to make...

(image) I loved the flying man image in my "7-Up Revival" collage and decided to try to use it again in a collage with a different story. Making art takes a lot of problem solving.   Especially when you're trying to make something old new again, like my flying man. I've learned I have to look at problems from more than one perspective.

(image) Flying makes me think of freedom, transformation and joy!  I borrowed an angel head from one of my digital paintings and turned my flying man into a smiling girl! Doesn't that feel so much happier?

The old picture is me at 7 trying out my new Christmas umbrella on a sunny day. Lots of pictures were taken that day with my parents, grandparents and aunt. Family stories, laughing, love, chocolate fudge, belonging. "In the acorn lies the Oak." I've been an oak a long time, but I'll always remember that little acorn kindly.

This collage is a reminder to me. I've learned the sun is always shining up there somewhere. Even when the rain is pouring, it's up there. And that little Morton Girl taught us all, it's never too wet to spread a little salt around. The curved arrow image was drawn on the back of a love letter Chuck wrote me when I was just a sapling. It recalls the shared path we've been on and the many layers of our love.

I still carry that little girl with me wherever I go.   I'm glad that 7-Up bottle taught her to be bold and seize the moment.  She reminds me of that every now and then when I'm living on cruise control.  Seize the moment...that's where the love is the sweetest!

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7-Up Revival

2014-02-06T14:21:15-05:00

My art has taken off in a new direction lately. Several months ago I decided to try my hand at mixed media and I've got to tell you this is like play! I could do this forever! As always I...

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My art has taken off in a new direction lately. Several months ago I decided to try my hand at mixed media and I've got to tell you this is like play! I could do this forever! As always I love to tell a story.  Try putting yourself in the middle of this one.  Hope you feel as happy as I do!!

You might want to read this if you're curious about the 7-Up bottle.

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Pentecost wind and fire

2012-06-01T11:39:31-04:00

Last Sunday was Pentecost...the birthday of the church. I'd wanted to create some kind of art in our church sanctuary for several years now and finally got around to doing it. Here's the story I was trying to illustrate. It... Last Sunday was Pentecost...the birthday of the church.  I'd wanted to create some kind of art in our church sanctuary for several years now and finally got around to doing it.  Here's the story I was trying to illustrate. It happened after Jesus' resurrection and ascencion back into heaven.  It was a day when Jesus' rag tag disciples, who had been hiding for fear of what might happen to them, suddenly changed.  God's spirit, which Jesus had promised, came like wind and fire and rested on their heads.  They were able to speak boldly about God in languages all the people listening could understand.  Peter preached with such boldness and power that over 3000 people were added to the church that day!  And the disciples lost their fear and began sharing the gospel message of God's love with everyone they met.  Pretty exciting stuff!So how could we bring that feeling into our church?  I had seen some church art using organza and tulle and decided to start there.  Our lovely old sanctuary was built in 1890 with a choir loft towering above the pulpit area.  It was the perfect place to hang our Pentecost art. It's 3 layers deep made of organza, tulle ribbon, satin and organza ribbon.  We place a fan off to the side that gave it a little movement...not quite like the first Pentecost...but it gave the idea of God's spirit moving among God's people.   Red is the traditional color of Pentecost and I used yellows, oranges and blues to suggest  the look of a flame in the center.  Our congregation dressed in red to celebrate this special day in the life of the church. My friend, Betty, arranged flowers from her garden to beautifully echo our theme.   You can hear Chuck's Pentecost sermon, Living in the Power of Pentecost, at chuckwarnock.com "On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.  Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.  Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.  And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability."  Acts 2:1-4   [...]



Artful Eggs

2012-03-31T19:23:21-04:00

It's time to dye the eggs for Easter again this year! I love doing this annual ritual because I always dye eggs with my friend Charlotte in her kitchen filled with springtime surprises! This year Charlotte shared her stash of... It's time to dye the eggs for Easter again this year!  I love doing this annual ritual because I always dye eggs with my friend Charlotte in her kitchen filled with springtime surprises! This year Charlotte shared her stash of little bantam chicken eggs with me.  We spent a lot of time talking and laughing and drinking homemade lemonade. Not to mention munching the sugar cookies shaped like bunnies!  The truth is I would never do this by myself.  It's way more fun to do this with good friend who hasn't forgotten how to play!  So here's how we did it.   These eggs are dyed using bits of weeds and flowers we found in the backyard. The design on the egg below came from a dandelion flower.  Charlotte soaked brown and red onion skins in water.  We pressed the wet flowers and leaves on the egg, covered it with onion skin all the way around and wrapped tightly with thread. Lots of thread! Then we placed the eggs in a pot of water and boiled for about 30 minutes.  We carefully put the pan in the sink and added cold water. The magic happens when you take off the thread, onion skin and flowers to reveal a beautiful work of art!  The next egg shows a dandelion leaf in a lovely shade of yellow!     A sprig of rosemary left its mark on the next egg. Can you pick out the violet leaf? How about that dainty stringy weed that's in everybody's yard? This last egg was the tiniest.  A mixture of violets and weeds turned it into an abstract beauty! We oiled the eggs and shined them up with an old washcloth.  After their photo shoot I arranged the eggs in a blue bowl in the hall.   They make me happy every time I walk by...remembering time spent with a good friend enjoying the wonders of God.  Find some wonders of your own this Easter season! [...]



Catching a Dream!

2012-01-26T12:32:42-05:00

I've had a dream for almost 8 years of starting a ukulele band at our church. I know it's a little crazy. I get amused looks from friends when I talk about it. They weren't exactly knocking at our door...

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I've had a dream for almost 8 years of starting a ukulele band at our church.  I know it's a little crazy.  I get amused looks from friends when I talk about it.  They weren't exactly knocking at our door to sign up...until NOW!  You see there's always been one problem, I actually have no talent for singing or playing the ukulele.  Yeah, that's kind of important you might say.  

I love my friend Ruth.  She always has a smile on her face.  Ruth understood my dream.  She bought a ukulele of her own two years ago. Ruth was ready to join the band!  She even learned to play Swing Low Sweet Chariot.  But what we really needed was a leader.  Somebody who could play the ukulele like a pro...but most importantly...somebody who knew how to have a good time.

That person turned out to be under our nose all along.  She was Ruth's sister, Judy.  Judy is a guitar teacher in Roanoke.  I never dreamed she would consider coming all the way to Chatham to lead our band.  But one day I asked her... and low and behold...she said YES!!  She's perfect!  She's a talented teacher. She loves God.  And she has a huge notebook of old hymns and silly songs!

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So, a couple of Sundays ago we had the very first practice of the Chatham Baptist Church Ukulele Band in our den.  We had 8 people come(Chuck's taking the picture)!  Judy taught us Rock-a-My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham and we laughed a lot as we tried to make our fingers land on the right spot!  Judy wants us to not just strum down like we're chopping wood. She she says we also need to strum up... so we'll sound more melodious.  

I'm having a problem on my upstroke.  I keep accidentally sticking my finger in the hole of my ukulele. Judy says I'm going to be trouble!!  You know, I think I'm really going to enjoy this ukulele band!!

 

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Merry Christmas, Jesus!

2011-12-25T08:18:09-05:00

This is the Children's Time I'll being doing during our worship service on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas, boys and girls! Today we're celebrating Jesus' birthday. You know, God sent his son, Jesus, down to earth to be born as a...This is the Children's Time I'll being doing during our worship service on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas, boys and girls!  Today we're celebrating Jesus' birthday.  You know, God sent his son, Jesus, down to earth to be born as a little baby.  Do you know why God sent him?  One reason was to show us what God was like; to let us see a person who could really live his life the way God wanted him to live it.  Jesus was our example...to teach us by his actions just how we should live.   Just imagine that clear starry night that Jesus was born in the stable with the cows and sheep and donkeys watching.  He looked like any other baby being born that night but he was very special.  He came to earth to show God's love to all of us. Jesus was pure LOVE! So here at church on Christmas Day, I thought we could give Jesus a special gift.  Let's tell him all the things we can think of that we love about him.   Jesus loves everybody...good people...bad people...everybody! Jesus notices people that others ignore. Jesus cares about sick people and heals them. Jesus is humble...drawing attention to God and others and not himself. Jesus is friendly. Jesus obeys his heavenly father. Jesus is thankful. Jesus fed people who were hungry. Jesus is kind. Jesus treats children with love and respect and they love him. Jesus talks to God every day. Jesus showed love even when he died on the cross. Jesus forgives people. Jesus always does what God wants him to do every moment of every day. Jesus takes time to help people in need. Jesus listens to people who talk to him. Jesus is God's son.  Jesus knows we're not perfect, but he loves us anyway.  Jesus likes it when we love him back. Jesus wants us all to be a part of his family.   Wow! That's a lot of things to love about Jesus.  But one of the best things is that after he died on the cross and went back to heaven, he didn't leave us here on earth all alone.  God sent his Holy Spirit to live in the hearts of everybody who loves Jesus.  God's spirit sort of changes our "want to" so that we can live with love for others like Jesus showed us.  And showing love for others is the best gift we can give Jesus on Christmas Day and every day!! [...]



Shelling peas

2011-08-16T20:14:46-04:00

There was a touch of fall in the air today. The 100+ temperatures that we had a couple of weeks ago are thankfully gone. So I decided it was the perfect day to sit on the front porch and shell...

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There was a touch of fall in the air today.  The 100+ temperatures that we had a couple of weeks ago are thankfully gone.  So I decided it was the perfect day to sit on the front porch and shell peas.  I bought these purple hull peas at a little produce stand near our house.  You don't see these in the grocery stores much but I learned to love them when we lived in south Georgia and everybody there grew them.  

I dumped the peas out of the brown bag onto a metal tray sitting on the little table in front of our wicker loveseat on the porch.  I was amazed at how gracefully those half dried up purple hull peas had landed on my yellow tray. Why is it that randomness is often so beautiful?  Look at how those two peas in the lower right corner are turning up at just the right angle to balance the whole composition in a whimsical sort of way.

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So then I sat down and started shelling peas.  The greenish peas with the bright red eyes looked so pretty in the old fashioned ceramic mixing bowl my sister gave me years ago.  The red eye of the pea echoed the color of the pod perfectly.  

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Not only are these peas beautiful but they come in their own biodegradable carrying case with a soft little membrane inside to keep them comfy till somebody like me pops them open!  God must have thought a long time before he made purple hull peas!

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I thought their colors looked really pretty with the pillow on the loveseat!!  I don't think I've ever had such a good time shelling peas!  Tomorrow they'll give up their beautiful colors to a pot of boiling water and turn a very "unamazing" shade of grayish brown .  But what those little peas lose in beauty they'll more than make up for in taste!  Sounds like a fair trade to me!

 

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The art of soup

2011-06-01T23:06:26-04:00

There's an art to making vegetable soup. It's a slow and deliberate process. Mindfulness comes in handy when chopping with a sharp knife!! Being a full steam ahead kind of gal, it's good for me to have to shift into...


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There's an art to making vegetable soup.  It's a slow and deliberate process.  Mindfulness comes in handy when chopping with a sharp knife!!

Being a full steam ahead kind of gal, it's good for me to have to shift into low gear and remind myself of the joy of being slow.  

Onion...chop, chop, chop...brings the familiar burst of pungent fragrance and watery eyes.  

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Celery needs washing and stringing before chopping.  Today I cut off all the stalks, washed them and put what I didn't chop for the soup in a zip lock bag.  I looked over at the bottom of the celery plant that remained and noticed its beautiful flower-like pattern.  I'd never taken the time to notice that before. Interesting how God managed to create beauty in the most obscure places.

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The onions and celery sauteed with a soft bubbly sound while I chopped the potatoes and breathed their earthy smell.  The finished carrots chopped in tiny orange circles sprawled on the cutting board waiting to join the soup.  

 

 

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This soup is all veggie and loaded with beans, corn, okra, tomatoes, roasted red pepper, rice, and teeny farfalle pasta and enough paprika and cayenne to give it a little kick. A melange of smells, tastes and colors creating comfort food that nourishes body and soul.

So even though the funeral home clock in our little town says 104 degrees...it's soup day at our house!! And we have two things to be thankful for today...our yummy soup...and our air conditioning!!

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Roses for Mother's Day

2011-05-07T21:48:21-04:00

When I was a little girl everybody at church always wore a rose on Mother's Day. A red rose meant your mother was living and a white rose showed she had passed away. I remember going outside with Mama to... When I was a little girl everybody at church always wore a rose on Mother's Day.  A red rose meant your mother was living and a white rose showed she had passed away.  I remember going outside with Mama to pick a little red rose off the bush.  Mama would carefully pin the pretty red rose to my Sunday dress with a straight pin.  I was always glad that my rose was red. This week our roses on the fence are in full bloom just in time for Mother's Day.  I'm fortunate to still have my sweet Mama alive and well.  She visited us for a couple of months in the late winter and Chuck and I really enjoyed having her smiling face with us.   I'm thankful for the things my mom taught me as a child.  It was plain everyday living with a lot of laughing together and hugs.  Chocolate pudding and pie was a yummy thread in life's fabric, that gave us a reason to sit and talk with each other.  And I learned without being conscious of it, that life had a pattern to it.  That being kind and being yourself...and having fun and loving God were all part of the same thing...just the way life was lived. I'm also thankful that Mama and I still have such a good time when we're together today.  And I notice the little ways she finds to be kind and loving to each person who crosses her path.  Of course, she still  has a little chocolate in the afternoon to sweeten the journey!!  Love you, Mama!  Happy Mother's Day!       Happy Mother's Day everyone!   So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy.   Proverbs 23:25         [...]



Scrambled pansies

2011-04-16T19:02:22-04:00

Scrambled pansies sounds like a new sidedish Rachael Ray may have cooked up, but these pansies weren't scrambled in a skillet on the stove! No, they were scrambled on my computer, in my head and with my hands. And why... Scrambled pansies sounds like a new sidedish Rachael Ray may have cooked up, but these pansies weren't scrambled in a skillet on the stove!  No, they were scrambled on my computer, in my head and with my hands.  And why would I want to scramble pansies?  Aren't pansies beautiful just the way God made them?   The thing I love about art is the creative process. It's a need to deconstruct reality, rearrange the composition, crank up the color and leave a little bit of yourself and your emotions shining through the work.  It's the hope of endless possibilites.  It's the only way I know to wear myself out and totally pep myself up at the same time!     So, here's how the pansies got scrambled.  I started with a photo looking straight down at the pansies and forget-me-nots growing in front of our fence. See that yellow pansy on the far left side?  See if you can find him on the finished version. I cropped a portion of this picture and opened it in Photoshop.  I then filtered the image to look like a drybrush painting. I generated about 40 random patterns on the pattern maker.  Look how the elements in the original photo are scrambled up. The white fence is "growing" in slivers in the ground with the flowers.  The combinations are infinite, but I chose the one I like best and moved on.         Now, the fun part begins.  With Photoshop's large selection of brushes and my Wacom pad and stylus I can paint with almost the same feel I have with real paints and brushes. So I started choosing brushes and colors and just got lost in painting for a while.  But unlike, real paint, I can use different color overlays and light sources to scramble things up even more!  I painted all sorts of shapes (a triangle, my symbol for God's serendipitous guidance, seems to have crept in!) and colors over the patterned photograph. I cropped it to more of a square shape and thought I was finished.  I love the colors and the movement in it.  Can you find the pansies? Today I decided to see if I could take it a step further with a new version.  I wanted it to look even more springy and happy.  I used some special effects with some gradient changes that focused it into a circle and a vivid light source that made it scream "happy" for me. I noticed when I got through that one of the shapes looks like a question mark, not something I intended, but I like the idea! Questions and triangles...inspired by the springtime pansies...as they sing their happy love song to God. [...]