Saturday, December 12, 2015

I'm just an artist. I have a small in-home studio, nothing special, nothing unique. Not a very lucrative way of life, a starving artist so to speak, one that has to work a second job driving a school bus four days a week. Sometimes I wish I was good at something else, something more important like a teacher or a nurse, someone who helps people. But I have a built-in passion to paint . . . I love it, so I do my best to bless people with it. I know I don't make much of a difference or change another's life, I'm just an artist . . .

I want to make a difference, a significant difference, to bring a smile to someone's face, to brighten another's day, to bring joy to a sadden and broken heart, to be a pleasing aroma to God, to be so close I can hear Him breathe. I'm just an artist . . .

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

We have the privilege of dining with friends this Thanksgiving and are really looking forward to it. I'll be making dessert; my favorite thing to do. This year I'm making a Cranberry-Walnut Pie. I have a dutch apple pie also. I'm going to surprise our friends with a little hospitality gift for having us in for the holiday.

I found this painting of a snow lady that I had done as a going away gift for a friend who was moving out of state. I had totally forgotten about it. I've decided to get some giclées made and keep one for my set. The title of the painting is after a book of the same name to remind my friend of the main character in the book "Birdie."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hi Friends! The weather here in our area has been just beautiful since last Friday, warm temperatures, very spring-like. I'm loving it. I wish it would stay like this all winter here. This is one of the reasons we would like to eventually move south. Not exactly sure where, but we're looking around the Asheville North Carolina area. There are a few other areas we're looking at also. I'll let you know when we make our choice.

Took some fall photos over the last two weeks, just looking for landscape painting ideas. I was taking a few shots of local train tracks, when I turned around to get back in my car, I was amazed by this view that had been behind me. It was just beautiful with the sun sparkling through the trees and onto the road. The photo below is a shot I took from my back porch at the onset of a severe thunderstorm, hoping to capture lightening bolts, which if you look close enough you can see two streaks near the top center of the photo. I would like to get some nice bird shots here in the near future, just haven't had too much time this week to get my camera back out.



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hello Blogger Friends!

Had the privilege of doing a personal art show October 17th at Nicolette's Tailoring and Specialty Gift Shop in Portersville, PA. This little gift shop is a very unique shop with all hand made items from all over the country. I just love this shop and do much of my gift buying here. If you're ever looking for a special gift this is the place to go.

While I was painting I happened to look across from where I was working and saw this little sign on the window ledge, it made me laugh. Needless to say I just had to have it. It just made me giggle and brought back some funny little girl memories. I hope you get a little chuckle too.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Good morning blogger friends!

It is a very rainy cold day here in Karns City Pennsylvania, a typical early fall day. I can say I'm not prepared for the winter months ahead. I love the beauty of the snow but not a big fan of the deep cold that comes along with it. But like anything else to do with the weather, its out of my control. :)
I have been reading an awesome book titled "Flash" The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me About Life, Faith, and Second Chances, by Rachel Anne Ridge. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time; it is powerful. I would encourage you to read it, it will bless you immensely.

Just a couple of tidbits from the past few weeks; my husband opened our garage door to get the lawn mower out to mow before we left on vacation and there curled up was a very young rattle snake. It didn't have its rattler yet and was about 2 1/2 feet long. He didn't look that big until he uncoiled and snapped at us when we tried to sweep him out of the garage with the broom. Unfortunately he slithered off to the back of the garage and hid. We can't find him and he wasn't around when we got back from vacation. We do proceed with caution when opening up the garage. Trust me I don't want to get bit!

On our drive to South Carolina we stopped at some friends Mark & Anita in Myrtle Beach had lunch with them and played Hand & Foot (a card game). Of course us girls won! From there we went to Seabrook Island SC for our week vacation as well as for a wedding (renewing of vows) of our dear friends Rick and Val. It was a beautiful island not too far from Charleston. The house we stayed in was right on a golf course and about 5 minutes from the beach. We went swimming in the ocean, it was cold but sure felt good on my sore knees, visited Charleston, went for a carriage ride drawn by mules Porgy & Bess, shopped, and bought a few little items to take home, a sweet grass basket, and a hand woven wire basket. We had an all-around great time.

Oh its back to driving school bus, not sure if I'm ready or not for that. I like the kids, teacher and monitor but the long bus run is the pits. I am, however, looking forward to get back to my art studio and paint some of the photos I took on vacation. A few were of marshes and egrets, Spanish moss, and palm trees. I will have lots of work to keep me busy over the long winter months.

Well better get back to reality and housework, oh yes and lots of laundry. Have a blessed week all!

I must apologize to all of you my blogger friends for not keeping up with my blog. It has been quite a struggle lately to get anything accomplished. I have been dealing with painful knees. I can't tell you how many times over the past few winters I have slipped and fallen on the ice in our driveway right on my knees. Well I'm paying the price for that now. At some point I will have to undergo knee replacement which I'm not looking forward to. My husband and I are avid bicyclists, we really enjoy it. I'm not sure if I will be able to bike ride after the surgery; something I will have to talk over with my surgeon. I can only sit for just so long because it is hard for me to stand back up. It is the sitting that is the worst. Once I'm up I'm okay, I can walk no problem. Stairs are a little bit of a struggle. I don't know who said our golden years are something to look forward to, but I'd like to tell them nuts! Anyway, I will try to be here once a week not sure what day will work best yet so bare with me please.
Thanks to all of you for your patience! :)
Sam

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hi Blogger Friends!

LaVillita grass seating area
Just returned from a fabulous vacation in San Antonio Texas. What a beautiful city. We rode the Alamo Trolly and visited the Alamo, San Jose, and Mission Concepcion. We also enjoyed the Riverwalk over several days stopping at several shops, and dinning at some of the restaurants. We had lunch at the Salt Grass, which was really good. Unfortunately it rained on and off throughout the week but in between the drops we weren't going to let a little rain stop our vacation.

We visited the Towers of the Americas rode the outside elevator up to the observation deck which rotates, what a view!

LaVillita Theatre Stage across the Riverwalk
On one excursion of the Riverwalk we stopped at the LaVillita, a small group of cottages boasting wares from local artisans and artists. I had the opportunity to talk with several of them, one in particular Margret Smith, a watercolorist like myself. This area also included an outdoor theatre with grass steps for seating, the stage was across the river from the seating area, as you can see in the pictures.

A few of the shops at LaVillita
If you have an opportunity to take a vacation to San Antonio, you won't be disappointed. Make sure you get a hotel along the Riverwalk, it may be a little more expensive but so much more worth it. We did not, and I wished I had. Our hotel was several blocks away and not as convenient. There was a Hampton Inn, and Holiday Inn Express very close to the Riverwalk both hotels have reasonable prices, we will be staying at one of those next time we go.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Good Saturday Morning! It is a beautiful sunny day but a little chilly for Memorial weekend. I've been working on the invitations to my Honey of a Party to take place in August. Here is a few shots of the front of the invitations.
When they are completed I will cut them apart and work on the back side of each card individually. I will also put a wash on the front four corners to add a little more color.
To the right is a shot of the full sheet of watercolor paper (I use Fabriano 140 lb extra white block). The photos below are just closeups.
I ruled off my sheet for six invitations then found the center of each card and worked my sketch from the center marks. After all of the cards were drawn, I then used a light wash of Davy's Gray, Cobalt Blue and Purple Lake to go over my pencil marks. Then erased the pencil. This way the invitations come out clean and free of lead. I don't want pencil showing through the watercolor it looks unprofessional.
I have two important things to say about that. First if you look at paintings done by the watercolor masters you don't see any pencil marks from the underlying sketch. So that leads me to the conclusion that even the masters didn't want their sketch to show through their paintings. This also leads me to the conclusion that artists either couldn't cover up their sketch lines, or just chose not to bother and liked it, and the world of art has actually approved it.
I just thought it odd that somewhere along the line the rules changed and pencil was allowed to show, in fact, it is now considered an actual part of the art itself. My personal opinion about the matter is that if the masters could do a watercolor without their sketch lines showing through than so could I and I succeeded. Both processes work for the individual artist, that is the freedom of art!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

It is tough out in the playing field of art, I am cold calling all the hand made artisan shops and small galleries within a 75 mile radius with no interest from the store owners. Everyone of them has turned me away saying "art just isn't selling." I'm getting very discouraged.

If I had to make my entire living based on the selling of my watercolors, I would definitely be a starving artist. I don't believe its my work, I have won ribbons and awards, I can't figure it out. I will keep plugging away. If anyone out there has some suggestions I'd love to hear them.

Went to a Spring Gardening workshop yesterday morning, it was just gorgeous weather, perfect for flower shopping. I bought two hanging baskets and two six packs of pansies which I got planted that afternoon. I need to get busy on cleaning up my flower beds and put some more mulch down.

The wintering birds have finally migrated back up here; the red breasted grosbeaks arrived on Thursday, along with the rufus towhees. Still haven't seen the hummingbirds yet. I usually have anywhere from 20 to 50 hummers every year, with the exception of last year. I had only about 18 or so. I have my feeders out for them in hopes they arrive soon.

Thanks! Have a blessed day everyone!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Good morning friends!

It is one chilly morning here in western Pennsylvania. The other morning we had a dusting of snow. Needless to say I was quite disappointed—its supposed to be spring!

I am planning a "Honey of a Party" for a few of my good friends. I came across these cool plates at a gift shop in Wexford, but they only had one package of four, not enough for what I needed. So I got on line and found the same plates on Amazon for about the same price and bought them. What is so cool about these plates is that they are are Melamine Picnic Paper looking with honeybees on them. I did purchase some napkins at the gift shop that I thought would go nicely for the party. I decided that I would paint the tags for the gifts and place cards for the table with honeycombs and honey bees. As soon as I finish I'll post the photos. My neighbor has honey bees which I will buy some of his honey to use as favors and will fill a small froggy tote from Thirty One with some sweet gifts for each of them. I haven't quite decided on those yet but thinking something natural and hand made like soaps and lotions from a local artisan.

The menu is also planned: there will be chicken salad with pecans, red grapes and apples on croisants, along with munchies. For dessert I will make a blackberry peach cake. Oh and Carmela iced tea. I'm excited and love to entertain, especially my friends. I want my friends to know how much I appreciate each of them. Friends are priceless and do much for us.

I'm starting a couple of new paintings, they're in the sketching stage. One will be a lighthouse to add to the series I've started and the other will be a surprise. I do have ideas for a third painting as well and it will be a bluebird if I can get a good photo. I have five bluebird boxes, each with a family in them. Just have to be able to get up close and personal for the shot.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

It was such a beautiful day here in western Pennsylvania. After an awesome sermon at church this morning we headed down to Trader Joe's then up to Whole Foods. I love Trader Joe's sprouted bread and orange chicken, along with some other goodies. We love buying our fruit at Whole Foods because it lasts days longer than fruit bought at Walmart or other grocery stores, so does their lettuces and other fresh veggies. I do buy most of my veggies during season from local farmers but during the late Fall through early spring its Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

After we had a late lunch we strapped our bikes on the back of the Honda and headed to Foxburg for our first bike ride of the season. It was just gorgeous and a slight wind was blowing along the water. It was a great ride with the exception of a sore butt from not riding since late October. It felt wonderful getting out in the fresh air and back on my bike.

Have a blessed week everyone!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I visited a fabulous shop four weeks ago in Wexford called the "Gifted Hands." I loved it! The store displays exquisite artisan made gifts at very reasonable prices. If you are on Route 19 headed south it is located in the mall diagonally across the highway from Northway Christian Church. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.

I have contacted them myself in hopes of displaying some of my paintings in their shop. We'll see how that goes. So far its been a few weeks and haven't heard from them. I'll give you an update when I hear from them.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Oh my gosh I think Spring has finally arrived. My perennials are peeking up above the earth which means I need to get myself out in the flower beds and get things cleaned up a bit. My bluebirds arrived the last week in February and took up residence in the houses they left last fall. All but one house is occupied. I love watching them flutter about gathering bugs and coming to the meal worm feeders my hubby made for them. Its a real trip when they start bringing their young ones to the feeder. They sit on top of the feeder quivering with their mouths open waiting for momma and papa to bring them worms. We did have some wintering bluebirds that decided to stay this winter rather than head south so they are still here and nesting. The Red Breasted Gross Beaks and Oriels should be arriving pretty soon and then the hummers start to arrive. I have anywhere from 30 to 50 humming birds every year. Its like having my own star wars under my porch. I have 3 2-cup feeders and I have had to fill them everyday to accommodate all the hummers. I love it.

I look forward to mornings that are warm enough for me to once again have my coffee on the porch. Its nice and peaceful and I enjoy watching all the beautiful birds at the feeders. This is a treat that I originally picked up from my grandmother, she just loved feeding the birds and I loved watching her as a kid. I know why she loved it so much, I do too.

Have a Happy Easter my blogger friends, I will chat with you again soon and hopefully have some great pictures to add.

Toodles!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

I have been pretty busy, with two paintings in the works. Don't get me wrong it is fun, with a little stress worked in. I've had good intentions to get a blog done but it never materialize. I did however get my new website designed and if you care to take a look here's the address: www.whiteoakstudioandgallery.com. Please leave your comments here, let me know what you think of it.

I have a painting materializing in brain that I want to do in the near future, it will be a surprise and I will post it here with the story behind it. I hope to get started on it sometime in April after I finish the two that I'm working on.

Each of the paintings I do are prompted and inspired by true stories, sometimes about my close friends or something happening in my life. For example, a dear friend's hubby was very ill and he loves to ice fish and this inspired me to paint him a get well painting of a snowman ice fishing, or this snow spa snowman I did for a friend who had her own soap, lotions, spa business. A friend was moving away and I did one for her that represented her favorite character in a novel. All of the snowmen I paint have special meaning behind them, I believe that is what gives them their personalities and characters. I have a whole series of them listed on my website and I do hope you have an opportunity to visit it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Good morning my blogger friends!

It has been a rough two weeks, with the passing of my mother-in-law. She is now celebrating in Heaven. She is missed here but I am happy that she is no longer in pain.

My mother-in-law was what I would call wonderful. She never interfered in our marriage but we could go to her for advice or just talk any time. She was open and never took sides unless we were definitely in the wrong and ever then she was respectful, firm but gentle in her response. No too many mother-in-laws are like that. Thank you mom!

I have some chores to do then its off to the wood to take some pictures. I want to capture some nice shots for future paintings. I may even go up to Amish country for some beautiful farm shots. I share what I discover with you sometime soon.

Have a blessed day everyone!
Sam

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Good evening my blogger friends I hope you are enjoying this wonderful brand New Year. My hope for you is that you will discover, be challenged, and take risks and find your dreams.

I belong to a book club of four other women and myself making five of us. We have been friends for more than 20 years doing a Bible study together weekly. We decided at the beginning of the summer of 2013 to start a book club and I must say it has been one huge blessing for me. I have read some fantastic books to date, but my favorite is the one we just finished titled "The Blue Bottle Club" by Penelope Stokes. It is the best story I have ever read and I recommend it highly, but be prepared for an amazing adventure within your heart.

Blessings to you all on this third day into the New Year!  :)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year my blog friends!

Blessings to you and your families, may your new year be full of joy, peace, contentment, new challenges and new goals!

My most important goal this year is to use the gifts, talents and abilities God has given me to bless and encourage others. To have an attitude of gratitude in all circumstances, and always do my very best in everything I set out to do.

Happy New Year!