Monday, August 30, 2010

For the Newbies

Well, I am still reading the Old Testament outloud. One chapter at a time. (I figured that would surely help me "get it".) J

I finally finished Numbers and am starting the 5th book in the Bible, Deuteronomy. Did you know that that word is made from the two words deutero (second) + nomos (law)?? I didn’t.

But knowing that, maybe I will remember the purpose of Deuteronomy, which was to repeat the Law to the new generation, who wasn’t there at Mount Sinai when Moses got it the first time.

Remember? The 1st generation of Israelites, the group that actually fled Egypt, all died out in the wilderness. And their children (the 2nd generation--the group that will actually go into the Promised Land) weren’t around for all that, and needed to be reminded of All Things Important.

Thus, the second giving of the Law, deutero + nomos, Second Law. Deuteronomy.

I just never heard that before. Live and learn.
Okay, onwards and upwards.

(I figure if I can make it through Leviticus,
I can make it through anything! Hahaha)

Lucky Dog J

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Scripture

4 verse 23
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
for from it flow the springs of life.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

Today I am thankful that my tendonitis, my tennis elbow, my right arm, is healing more and more every month.

I have been lifting weights, icing it and playing with Silly Putty. All were prescribed to me by my wonderful chiropractor. I shudder to think where I would be without him.

It’s been a very difficult road. I’ve had searing pain whenever I lift my cup of coffee. I hurt when I groom my new little dog. I haven’t been able to pull weeds in my flowerbeds. I’ve had to cut back on almost every activity I do…

But now I can actually see improvement. Real progress! I don’t hurt when I fix my hair or brush my teeth now, and I can lift my barbells without pain.

And... I can paint again!

You see, I am on a 100-year project of painting the woodwork in our house. Okay, not really 100 years, but that’s how it feels. Will I ever get it done???

I remind myself of “how to eat an elephant” constantly, breaking down the whole house into rooms, and even breaking down a room into 4 separate walls.

And how will it ever get done if I can’t work on it??

As much as I hate painting woodwork, I hate the way the current woodwork looks more, so it’s gotta get done. And hallelujah, now I am able to work on it again.

And this time around, instead of hating it quite as much, I’m very grateful that I am healthy enough to paint at all. I especially love how it’s making me feel productive and useful again. ♥

And I am so thankful for that.

Lucky Dog

p.s. But if I ever have to paint another banister railing in my life,
I think I will scream.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Floppy Ragdolls

This is a photo of our little Feisty Girl. And look!
She’s actually not being feisty, it’s, it’s like she’s relaxed.

Oh my, she’s turning into a Ragdoll. Finally.

The Ragdoll cat is a long-haired, supposedly laid back breed, and can be color-pointed like a Siamese. Ours are both seal colorpoints. The breed’s hallmark characteristic is their tendency to go limp and flop like a ragdoll, thus its name.

Our male can be so relaxed at times, it’s like he’s melted into a pool of butter. Granted, he has to be in the mood, but it’s often.

I remember when he was a kitten and was sound asleep, I’d pick him up and it was like he was dead. (Sometimes I really worried that he was dead!) Talk about limp, he was just a bag of bones. He grew out of that, but he can still have his relaxed moments.

But not this little girl. At least, not up ‘til now. But things are changing. She’s mellowing. She’s turning into the Ragdoll that she is. Not all the way, mind you, but a little bit. And for her, that’s a lot.

She doesn’t want to, but the poor thing can’t help it. It’s in her genes. She can’t fight it, even though I can tell she really wants to.

Laid back, relaxed… She doesn’t know what hit her.

And I’m not sure I even know who she is anymore. J haha

Lucky Dog

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Scripture

Psalm 76 verse 4
Thou art resplendent, more majestic than the mountains of prey.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Quote o' the Day

“The only crit an artist needs is praise.” -- Joseph P. Blodgett

This quote used to confuse me a little, because I have been the recipient of some very valuable crit sessions and criticism over the years.

But now I believe that this is much much truer than I first thought.

Artists reach down in their souls, gather up all the courage they can muster, and plaster their very being on canvases for the world to see.

Yes, the artist needs praise more than you could possibly think. Instead of feeding the ego, it encourages the artist to create again.

And who of us couldn’t stand more Encouragement
in our lives? It is pure oxygen for the soul…

“What you do is *wonderful*! Do it some more!”
Yes, we all need that times a million.

Lucky Dog J

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

I’ll keep this short and sweet today.
I am so very thankful for Mr. Man and the fur-babies
and our life together. It is Heaven on earth.

Lucky Dog J

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pen Pals

Dear Pen Pal,

In your last letter, you asked me, “how can I improve my letters if I can’t see what’s wrong with them?”

First off, take comfort in the fact that your ability to “see” grows over the years. In fact, you are training your eyes, hand and brain now. It will take awhile before they learn to work together making letters. With practice and continued use, you should be able to see shapes much better a year from now than you can right now. And in 5 or 10 years, who knows what all you’ll be able to see??

In the meantime, though, you can use tracing paper and mylar to help you see easier, better, and more.

Try making a copy of the alphabet you’re studying, for example, the same size as you’re working. (You may have to take it to the copy shop and have them enlarge it for you.) Then you can trace the letter you’ve made and compare it to your original, and see right where you may be off. Mylar makes it all that much *clearer*. (Get it? Clearer?) J

One time I xeroxed an exemplar onto clear mylar for that very purpose. In fact, I think I did this with Copperplate/Script and found out very quickly, whoa, were my ovals off! Not only were they not oval, the axis of the oval was at the totally wrong angle! Very eye-opening and a little horrifying (!), but I needed to know where I was going wrong and the clear mylar was just the ticket.

Also, don’t just make a letter and then look at it afterwards to see if it looks right. Look at the stroke as you create it. Get real time feedback on your creation. Watch it unfold and tell that nib what to do!! J

Also, and this may be obvious, but don’t look just at the Marks that you are making. Train yourself to look at the Counters that you are creating, while you are making them.

The Counter is the shape created by your pen marks or strokes. One example of a counter would be the lemon-shape inside a foundational O, or the 2 D-shaped counters stacked on top of each other when you make a capital B. Some people call it Negative Space, and some people won’t call it that because they don’t believe it to be a negative thing. (!)

Nevertheless, if your counter is right, your letter will be right.

And you know what? (And I feel like I’m telling a little secret here for some reason…) When I am really in The Zone, I almost don’t feel like I’m making letters anymore, but simply carving beautiful counters with my pen. Weird, right? Unfortunately I’m not in The Zone as often as I’d like. It’s a magical place that I don’t visit nearly enough. J

And perhaps I should also touch on the normal Frustration a Newbie feels. Well, actually we all feel it, to some extent. We all want to be so much better than we currrently are. It’s a fact of life for an artist that you can fight or finally accept. I have come to accept that truth and even be grateful for it. Without it, I would be ignorantly content with how my letters look, and I’d never get any better that way. That frustration can help drive you toward excellence.

But your frustration should be that vague discontent, not the maddening throw-your-pen-across-the-room type. If you are beyond-crazy-frustrated, as the old advice goes, go dancing. (i.e., do something, anything, else)

Actually, when I would get that bad kind of frustrated, I would stop lettering for that day and play with my beautiful papers and ribbons and beads and make a collaged greeting card. That’s how I entered the world of Collage. But that’s really another topic for another day.

Enjoy the journey, and have fun!

Lucky Dog J

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Night Objects

This is one of the night objects that we saw last week when we were out looking at the Perseids meteor shower.

It is the Andromeda Spiral Galaxy. That’s why I didn’t say “star” or “constellation”, for it is neither. It’s a whole ‘nother galaxy. I’m not sure I can wrap my brain around that. (!)

We drove about an hour out of town for darker skies, and were also rewarded with a beautiful view of the Milky Way. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it that clear and brilliant. If you haven’t seen it lately, make the time to get away from your local light pollution and see it again. It is truly awe-inspiring.

We also saw the Pleiades, a cluster of stars, and that night Jupiter was as bright as I’ve ever seen Venus. Most spectacular. As were the meteors, by the way. J

The coolest thing about stargazing, though, is how nice it is to be out in the Darkness and Quiet for hours. It’s very calming. I like it.

Mr. Man bought us two zero-gravity lawn chairs for stargazing, and they’re handy because you can lean all the way back and not crane your neck all night long.

It’s a great way to spend an evening and enjoy the wonder of God’s creation.

Lucky Dog J

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eye Candy

This is a photo of a teenaged raccoon that I took at our previous house.

I thought the blog needed a colorful photo today
instead of me just blabbing some more. haha

Lucky Dog J

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Scripture

17 verse 22

A joyful, cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed and broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quote o' the Day

"When your dreams turn to dust... vacuum!" J

-- Unknown

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

Today I am introducing a new theme that I borrowed from my dear blogging friend, Kim, called “Thankful Thursdays”.

Not that we’re only thankful about stuff one day a week! haha)

And today I am thankful for this blog and for you.

Ya know, I’ve never mentioned how therapeutic and wonderful this little blog is for me. I absolutely love connecting with all of you, and creating my own little corner in virtual reality. J

Thank you for stopping by and reading about this and that & that and this. I hope you enjoy my take on what goes on in the world around me.

Take it easy and take care.

Lucky Dog

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Perseid Meteor Showers

From the website:

Looking for a little excitement as the summer draws to a close? This year’s Perseid meteor shower peaks Aug. 12-13, and it promises to be one of the best displays of the year!

If forecasters are correct, the shower should produce a peak display of at least 80 meteors per hour.

A waxing crescent moon will set before the shower becomes active – setting a perfect stage for meteor watching – weather permitting, of course.

When: August 12-13th

The Perseids have been observed for at least 2,000 years and are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years.

Each year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet's debris. These bits of ice and dust -- most over 1,000 years old -- burn up in the Earth's atmosphere to create one of the best meteor showers of the year.

The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere. Those with sharp eyes will see that the meteors radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus.

Will Mr. Man and I be attending??
Of course!

Lucky Dog J

Monday, August 9, 2010

Go Cowboys!

It’s official! Football season is here already!

Last night was the first pre-season game for the Dallas Cowboys, and they even won. That makes me happy because it makes Mr. Man happy. J

And I have a new football buddy this year. The dog spent almost the whole game in my lap. Isn’t that too wonderful??

(We yell and scream too much for Lover Boy. He tends to run and hide when we get too loud. The female cat could care less what we do. Ever. haha)

That also reminds me that I usually knit during games. I guess I need to check out my stash and UFOs and pick a project to work on, ‘cause they play again this Thursday night. And I’d better get ready.

Insert Hank Williams, Jr. singing here:
Are you ready for some football??

Lucky Dog J

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Scripture

11 verse 33

Oh, the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments
and unfathomable His ways!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Quote o' the Day

“Space is the breath of art.”

-- Frank Lloyd Wright

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Little Bit of Happy

I saw this card the other day at Wal-Mart, and loved it immediately. Deep teal (I know it looks blue, but work with me here, it's really teal), glittery plum, and a gorgeous blue butterfly -- what’s not to like?? J

It turns out the card is from Taylor Swift’s line. I didn’t even know she did cards.

I didn’t buy it to send to anyone; I bought it for myself. As Karen Walker would say in the TV show, Will & Grace, “Here, honey, buy yourself a little happy.” So I did.

It’s a wee bit of soul-nourishment. I think that’s important for artists especially, but really, for all of us to remember to do. It doesn’t have to cost much. Just a little something to brighten up your life here and there. A new ballpoint pen, a colorful spiral. I like cards because they last longer than flowers and are a small piece of art, but a $4 bunch of beautiful flowers in the dead of Winter is money very well-spent in my book.

I hope you can find something special for your corner of the world. Sometimes it’s just fun looking and seeing how little it really takes. You could even make a game of it and limit yourself to spending 99¢ or less. That sounds like a fun Artist’s Date to me! J

Happy hunting!

Lucky Dog

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rules for Artists

A version of these was recently posted on CyberScribes.
This is the copy that I got from John Prestianni back in the 80’s.


1. Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for awhile.

2. General duties of a student: pull everything out of your teacher, pull everything out of your fellow students.

3. General duties of a teacher: pull everything out of your students.

4. Consider everything an experiment.

5. Be self-disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them.

6. Nothing is a mistake. There's no win and no fail. There's only make.

7. The only rule is work. If you work, it will lead to something. It's the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch onto things.

8. Don't try to create and analyze at the same time. They're different processes.

9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It's lighter than you think.

10. "We're breaking all of the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities."
-- John Cage

Helpful Hints: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything -- it might come in handy later.

There should be new rules next week.

-- Immaculate Heart College Art Dept. Rules

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wile E.

Well… we had an eventful weekend of sorts.

Actually, it has been an exciting week on many levels. For one thing, we have been very excited to see little raccoon babies finally come to our deck again for a little late night snack.

Why? Because we didn’t have hardly any raccoons coming there for awhile. L

I called Animal Control and they said that a lot of the raccoons coming through this Spring and Summer have had distemper, and that that is probably what happened to the ones in the woods behind us.

Bummer. I knew something was wrong. We had leftover dog food in the morning and that just doesn’t happen. You put out free food for the wildlife, and it’s always gone, right? Put it out and they will come.

Plus, this is the first May/June ever since we moved to Oklahoma that I haven’t had pregnant or nursing Momma raccoons come for food during the day. That was a huge red flag. And a major bummer. For us, anyway. These are our little “pets that don’t require a vet”. J

But now we have baby raccoons again. (Yay!) We apparently need to re-populate, thus our excitement over seeing some replacements. haha

But in addition to the raccoons, skunks, possums, squirrels and birds… we had a new visitor this weekend. It was of the rather large yellow canine variety. And no, it wasn’t our next-door neighbor’s lab.

It was a coyote.

Yup, a real coyote, right there on our deck.
Hmmmm..… Sort of exciting, but not good.

I saw it darting around on the deck, obviously freaking out that a human was watching him. Fortunately it came back a moment later so Mr. Man could see it, too. (I don’t want him to think I’m going completely insane.) Too bad the whole incident lasted about 10 seconds; I would’ve liked to get a photo.

Here is a photo from the internet that’s pretty close:

Soooooooo…. I guess that’s why we have gates for our deck, because those gates are now closed. Now the raccoons will have no problem slipping through the bars, but it should be a pretty good deterrent against coyotes.

I hope.

I’ll letcha know.

Lucky Dog J

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Scripture

Psalm 97 verse 11

Light is sown like seed for the righteous,

and gladness for the upright in heart.