Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sunny Today!

Good morning!  I am feeling a little more like myself this morning.  My knee is still sore but so much better than yesterday!!!  The thing that seems the worst right now is the pain med they have me on.  It is a combo of codeine and acetaminophen.  It makes me feel kind of dizzy.  I am not sure I can paint or draw yet.  But I will try it in a while and see.  I will just take it a step at a time (Yes, that was meant as a pun!)
So I think the doctor was kind of right.  I can walk.  But it hurts!  He didn't tell me that part.  I guess I thought the pain would all be gone.   I sort of forgot about the cutting into tissue and muscle part I guess.  So that is a good sign.  I think I am back to being an optimist!  Yay!  I think life is better when you think everything is rosey...even when it's not.  I used to always be optimistic.  Then life kind of kicked me in the face a few times and I was not so optimistic.  One of our favorite games while riding in the car with the kids was to make up a story together...each of us taking our turn.  When it was my turn I used to have everyone crash and burn in the story...and end it sadly:)  It got to be funny... no one wanted me to have a turn.  And they were always adding superpowers to the people in the stories trying to keep them alive.  Silly therapy I guess.
Well, I am tired and dizzy and complaining just a little I guess.  But I am so glad to be done with the surgery!  I think I am very blessed to have had it, and that all went well, and that my recovery time is so short....probably not quite as short as I had hoped....but not as long as so many recoveries are.  So take care out there in cyberspace.  I'm still pulling for you....huff, puff!  We're all in this together!  Keep smiling!!!  I am still smiling from the morning funnies!  And not just in the paper!  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's over! I am on my way home. So now I rest today and tomorrow I paint. So glad. It wasn't bad at all. I am a little groggy still. Better quit before I say something extra silly! Melody

Bats in my Belfry!

Good morning!  It's here...Friday morning.  And I feel very peaceful inside....except for the butterflies that have suddenly grown to the size of bats:)  Just kidding.  I am a little nervous, but excited too.  It will be nice to have a working knee!  I just hope it is as easy as the doctor said it would be.
I am supposed to report in without makeup or contacts (that is a sight to make sore eyes!) and no perfume or anything like unto it.  I may have cheated there just a bit. I had to put stuff to tame my hair just a little.  So I guess I am all set.  I don't get breakfast...or lunch I guess.  So I figure it is also the first day of my forced diet:)
Oh, I forgot to mention.....it is white with fallen snow outside....a lot of it!!!  It should make things interesting!
So enough about me.  How are you?  Oh...that good?  I am glad to hear it.  Hope all is great today.  I am signing off now.  Take care.  Me

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Evening Edition

Good evening!  I am home, safe, and tired!  That was a quick trip, but a nice one.   I really liked the little towns of Gardnerville and Minden. There was a cool old woolen mill and lots of spring blossoming type trees and bushes.  I guess I like that old fashioned mountain town kind of feel.  The guy that Mel bought the machine from lived out west from town a few miles.  It was so quiet and peaceful.   I was impressed.  Of course he was a junk dealer of sorts and had all kinds of old used equipment...filled up a whole huge shop with old stuff.  But his home was beautiful and a ways away from all of the junk.  He said he had moved there from San Jose about 11 years ago and wouldn't go back.  He loved his location.  He did say he missed the ocean.  I had to agree with him there.  I miss it too.
So now I guess I will get some sleep...I hope.  My surgery is in the morning....I am supposed to report in at 9:15 and the actual surgery is a couple of hours later.  I think it will be fine, and I know this logically.  But I am still kind of nervous....butterflies in my stomach.  So I am blogging:)  I am hoping it will calm me down.  I keep thinking of painting and drawing....that helps.  I have solved a few drawing problems today studying Degas and Vermeer as we were driving.  I am drawing a memory from my grandparents'  cabin....taking a bath in a tin tub in the kitchen with an old wood burning stove nearby.  It is when I was small...3 or 4.  I have vague memories of it all.  But that is the assignment, to draw from an old memory and use images from other painters to fill in the details.  It is hard to do, and I am struggling just a bit.  But I found a cool door in one of Vermeer's paintings, and I love how he uses light from windows, which is something I will try to imitate.  I have home movies that I have been reviewing to see what I can glean.  I have found a scene in front of the cabin, so I can see the old wood used for the siding, and there is the tub too.  I hope I can get it all together and drawn by the 9th:)  Sigh!  If I can do it well it might be an endearing little scene....or it might just be a bunch of junk glombed together.  I will try for the former.
I also have the birds to paint into my oil painting.  I think I will do that Saturday.  And I need to assemble my self portrait thing with mighty mouse:)  That is due on Tuesday and it is mostly printing and gluing.  Then....it will all be over before I know it.  I am such a worrier.  Oh well.  I hope you are doing well out there in cyberspace!  No worries!  Wouldn't that be great?  Ha, ha.  I think you would have to check your pulse and make sure you were still alive:)  But it is all good.  We are definitely here for a purpose.  Sweet Dreams!  Melody

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nevada

Good evening! I am in Nevada tonight. Actually in the picturesque town of Fernley. Mel is picking up some business equipment in Gardnerville tomorrow morning. I hadn't planned on coming but decided I could miss a little school since I haven't missed any. And this way I am passing the time before Friday.
It has not been same oh same oh after all. I went to my photo class and got two good prints. One more to go. But when I got to my drawing class my knee was too sore. So I headed home. I had told Mel I would come but the knee cinched it. I will be so glad when it is fixed.
The drive so far has been nice. Relaxing and beautiful. The sunset was really gorgeous. And I had time to really watch it.
I also watched the end of the game between OKC and Denver. I don't always enjoy watching basketball but that game was exciting! So I hope your evening is swell. Sweet Dreams. Melody

Young at Mind

Good morning!  I am feeling....tired, but that's sort of normal for me.  Does anesthesia make you feel rested afterwards?  I am hoping so.  My home teachers (we got new ones who actually visit!) came last night and Mel and Brother Carlen gave me a blessing so I am not feeling so worried as I was.  I am so grateful for priesthood power!
So today is photography and drawing.  I hope I can get some wonderful prints.  I did a contact sheet yesterday and it looks pretty good, but whether it looks good printed large is another matter.  Then in drawing class I am not sure how to proceed.  I got a bunch of books my teacher recommended and studied them.  But I am not sure it will help.  I am taking a couple of the books to class to try to use some of the ideas presented.
So I suppose it just sounds like same oh same oh.  I wasn't sure how to spell that:)  I am trying to think if anything interesting and noteworthy happened.  I had a strange dream:)  I slid down a huge bannister in it.  I guess I am still a little kid in my subconscious too.  I just wish my body thought so.  My brain is all for it. And I am starting to sound silly, so it is time to bid adieu.  I hope you have a lovely day out there in cyberspace land.  Take care, keep smiling, and be good!!!  I'm still pulling for you!  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sharing Again

Good afternoon!  Or maybe it evening.  It doesn't get dark now until after 8.  Which is great if you are painting and need natural light.  I thought I would share my painting so far.  You may recognize some of the images.  I have been saving that baby one for a while.  I asked the teacher if it would matter if I got it off the internet...especially since it may have a copyright.  Her reply?  "You're an artist.  You can use anything you want!"  And she was serious.  I guess it would bother me a little to have a free for all attitude.  But I am only using this for a class.  It is all painted...in case you thought I just pasted photos...it is hard to tell sometimes with photos of paintings.  I still have to add a flock of birds and a few sparrows. And a whole lot of shading in the right places.  But I am liking it...and what's kind of fun is that most of my class does too.  They kept coming by and commenting as I was painting.  So that is nice, especially since the theme started with that wonderful song..."His Eye is on the Sparrow."  I feel like I am preaching without having to say a word.  I think I like this part of art:)  I remember one of my goals to paint was that I wanted to spread good feelings about families and family life.  So I think this painting kind of does that.  I will post the final version next week when I have completed it.
So I hope your day is going well.  It is nice to feel good.  I hope you are feeling good too.  Take care.  Melody

Is it already Tuesday?

Good morning to you!  I am finally up and ready for the day!  I woke up at 4:30, but I didn't get up til 6:30.  I kept thinking I would fall back asleep.  But no.  I did stew about things sufficiently though.  I think I have the rest of my life planned out!  And I kept worrying about this surgery coming up.  I guess my main worry is that I will have some recovery time and miss classes next week...which would be bad.  But oh well.  I will just have to have faith that all will be fine.  And if not...the worst that could happen is I wouldn't get wonderful grades.  I may not anyway:)
So today is more foundational art and painting.  I am still working on my self portrait for my foundational art class.  We are supposed to have appropriated images and text.  So I am putting Mighty Mouse in saying, "Here I come to save the day!"  Mostly because I feel that I do that for grandkids a lot....and my own kids too.  Also I am going to do something with the Maxwell House ad saying..."Good to the last drop."  I need to go over that one with my instructor though.  I want to substitute "Melody's Life" for Maxwell House.  I don't know if that is OK.  I also wanted to put in a quote by Steinbeck, but upon reviewing it, I may not.  I am not quite sure yet how it will all turn out, but Thursday we have a critique and it is due next Tuesday.
Then for my oil painting class I spent quite a bit of time yesterday penciling in everything for my painting.  I am pleased with how it is turning out.  I hope it paints as well as it draws....and that it conveys the message of being watched over...and watching over.  I am hoping it will.
Well, once again I must leave to go to school....yay!  I still love it, despite pain, and rain and wind.  It is all so amazing and I feel so privileged to be going.  I hope your day goes well out there in cyberspace.  Take care and keep smiling.  I figure the ice is all gone now...so no sticks in it:)  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sharing the Snow!

 Good morning!  I am glad to be home, but we did have a wonderful trip....short but worth it.  I am including pictures of the snow.  We were amazed at how much snow is not melted yet.  Cascade wasn't bad, but McCall was still pretty snow filled, and driving around was amazing.  We took a drive up to Warm Lake and it was probably 20 feet of snow through parts of the road there.  Of course they had plowed the road, or we would not have made it.  We were sad to see that the monumental fire of a year or so ago had burned the forest from the Yellow Pine turn off all of the way to Yellow Pine.  That was a beautiful drive, although somewhat bumpy.  Now it will just be bumpy.  I remember all of the signs asking you to slow down as you neared Yellow Pine.  So funny!  I guess it made me a little sad to see the forest burned.
I wanted to tell about the prom:)  Saturday night as we were eating our dinner at the motel we noticed a crowd of people in the lobby.  The manager said it was all of the family waiting to take pictures of the kids for prom.


We didn't quite understand.  And she said they like to take pictures of them all as they come down the stairs.  It is a small town so I guess they like the one nice motel.  Anyway, we didn't think much of it until a little later when the loud booming music started right underneath our room.  What they had neglected to mention was that they held the prom there:)  That's when we decided to go for a drive to Warm Lake.  They were still going strong when we returned a couple of hours later, but the desk clerk promised it would end at 10....which it did!  Amazing and wonderful.  I think I would have been switching motels if it hadn't.  It was kind of cute to see all of the tuxes and ball gowns.  But the music wasn't very pleasant.
We went to church yesterday morning and found that they were having the same stake conference we were having in Nampa...broadcast from SLC.  I guess there were 48 stakes in Western Idaho that were all tuned in.  It was so nice.  Elders Uchtdorf and Ballard spoke.  Also the Primary General President, and a seventy....Brother Johnson.  I enjoyed it all, but especially Elder Ballard who spoke on the worth of souls.
Well, I guess I had best get going!  It all starts again today.  I have a roll of film to develop for photography, and then for drawing I have some images to draw from.  I hope my knee lasts.  It seems to be good in the morning and by the afternoon I am hobbling pretty bad.  I am looking forward to my surgery...although with some nervousness.  I guess this will be my first surgery.
My concert/fireside went well last night.  It is always amazing how bad the rehearsals can sound, and then how good the performance.  I think we had some heavenly help.  How could we not with such beautiful music?  I am glad it is over though!
So I hope your day is wonderful and inspired.  I am still pulling for you!  Take care out there in cyberspace!  We're all in this together!  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody






Near the Yellow Pine turnoff:(  I guess the burn went all of the way to Yellow Pine along the road from Warm Lake.

I was shocked to see all of this beautiful area burned!  The lady at the hotel desk said it was called the Monumental fire and was able to be seen on the satellite pictures.  I guess it burned from the turn off to Yellow Pine all the way to the town of Yellow Pine:(

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter! I hope it is for you too! I think this is the first time we haven't done all the traditional bunny stuff. I miss it a little. I guess I will have to have my own private grandkids party when we get back. But the grandkids weren't around anyway for one reason and another.
Today is still sunny and gorgeous. We are headed for church and then we'll mosey on back toward home and obligation. I think I can handle it all again. It has been a good break. I have been thinking of painting again. I look forward to a time I can paint a scene of resurrection. In the meantime I will be painting sparrows and tin tubs. More to follow:). Take care and keep smiling! HAGW!!!! Melody

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good morning! I am here in Cascade enjoying the feeling of no responsibility. I have been able to just relax and let go of the stress....wonderful! The Payette River is really high. So I got some cool photos of that and today we are going to take the rest of the roll. I also think I have a clearer vision of how to finish all of my final projects. So it is a ver good thing to take a breather.
So I hope your day is fun too. Keep smiling! I will write more when I have more than an iPhone to write with. HAGW!!!! Melody

Friday, April 22, 2011

Anticipation

Good morning!  I am up early.  I could still be in bed but I was just laying there rehashing stuff...not too productive.  Mel is off playing basketball of course.  He has been playing early morning basketball for about 25 years I guess.  Before we moved here he used to hike with a group of men early mornings to the top of some hill in Pleasanton...and for a time before that he rode his bicycle to work....from San Ramon to Pleasanton.  That was more necessity since our second car was iffy and I had to take Tommy in to the hospital so much.  He has always been a little determined that way.  When I first met him he could run up the side of a mountain.  I know that sounds strange.  I told my brother that and he thought I was exaggerating.  So we were in Muir Woods I think...or Yosemite.  There was a small mountain...not a hill...and I said to Norm he should challenge Mel to a run up the mountain.  So he did.....and he never doubted me again.  He kept saying, "I can't believe it!  He just ran up the side of the mountain!  He didn't even need a trail!"  I guess it amazed me too.  When he was little his family lived outside of Vernal, and he used to hike around in the mountains there a lot.  I guess there were no trails a lot of the time, so he learned to just scale the mountains.  I don't think he would want to do that now.  No, that is not quite accurate.  I know I would want to do that....but the ability has left...same for him.  Although he probably still could if there was some real important reason to do it.  I would just die on the mountainside:)
So that was an interesting tangent.  I guess I am a little apprehensive about surgery next week.  I hope that it really does fix my knee.  It would be nice if while they are in there they could switch the button back to before I had kids...the one where I could eat anything I wanted and not gain an ounce.  And the one also that kept my energy level high.  Oh, and maybe they could find the one that kept me asleep at night.  I wonder if there is a panel that needs a fuse or something:)
Today is going to be a pampered day.  First I get to go to my hair dresser.  It is time to get gorgeous Melody hair again (ha, ha).  Then after I pay a few bills we are headed out of Dodge.  I think I have really needed a break because I am very excited to go.  It is our stake conference weekend so we don't have any teaching or clerking responsibilities.  I will miss all of the wonderful talks, but there is a nice church in Cascade we will attend.  So it should be great.  And I am sure it will be over too soon.  I think one of my favorite things to do is to drive around on little mountain roads.  I hope the snow has melted enough to allow some of that.
Well, here's hoping your day is splendid!  Take care out there in cyberspace!  I am still pulling for you!!! Keep smiling and remember we're all in this together.  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Tune of a Licorice Stick

Hi again!  I am so glad to be home.  But school went well.  My foundations class teacher loved my ideas for my self portrait assemblage coming up and understood about my homework being eaten by the grandchildren:)  So that was good.  Before my painting class I went to see my dad and had a very nice visit with him and Barb.  He is pretty amazing.  I don't know too many 88 year olds that are working hard to figure out their iphone!  And he has such an optimistic attitude about life.  I hope I can get one of those good attitudes before I am his age!
After my visit with them I returned to school and my painting class.  I talked things over with my teacher and she likes my new compositional sketches.....whew!  And I got a pretty good start on the painting....I sketched everything in, got a little advice on better placement....then I painted over everything with another ground.  So really all I did was a ground.  But at least I have a better idea where to place everything.  And my teacher talked to me a little more, gave me some nice compliments and I think all is right in the world again.  I really had the feeling she was annoyed with me, and I don't do well with that.  So I think we cleared the air.
Tonight is my final rehearsal for orchestra.  We do a final run through with the choir tonight and then we have our concert on Sunday....like a fireside.  It is nice.  I always enjoy the event.
And tomorrow we leave for Cascade and rest!!!  I could stay home and do a lot toward completing assignments, but I will just hope I can get enough done in the two weeks left.  I think for a couple of classes we are going a third week even.  So I should be fine.  And I know I will do better emotionally if I take a little time out.  And I love Cascade and McCall.  It is all very beautiful.
I like my expression..."You've got to be kidding!"

So for your entertainment pleasure:)....I am including a photo I found looking through my baby book.  I guess it was taken at Capwell's about 1953 or 1954.  My only excuse is that we had probably been shopping for a very long time:)
Well, have a great evening.  I am off to play my licorice stick!  Melody

The Yellow Brick Road

Good morning!  Just thought I would write that before I go off to see the wizard:)  I am a little nervous to go to school today.  Because the internet was down I wasn't able to gather all the images I need for my foundations class.  Oh well.  That's life....like the dog chewing up your homework....or the grandkids!  I hope your day is wonderful out there in cyberspace today!  HAVVVGW!!  Melody

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back Again!

Good evening!  Our internet has been out today:(  So I am really sorry if I sounded very sad and discouraged last time I checked in.  I am feeling so much better tonight than last night!!!   I realized that I must have had a touch of flu or something...which is a relief.  I was worried that I was getting so overwhelmed I wouldn't be able to handle things.  But today I am feeling a ton better.  It also helps that Mel suggested we both needed a break, so we are going up to Cascade for the weekend.  That is perfect because I love the Ashley Inn, and besides relaxing I can take a couple of rolls of film while we are traveling up there and back.  That will help to get a large part of the photography stuff done...or at least started.
Photo class was great today....except for a film about somebody Tillman who took really pornographic stuff.  I didn't realize fast enough to avert my eyes and saw more than I would have wanted to see.  I really don't see how it qualifies as art.  But the rest of class was good.  We critiqued our photos and I think I did OK.  And it is always fun to see what everyone else has done.
Drawing class was really good.  We are working up our thumbnail sketches for our last final work and I was very unsure about what to do.  Our teacher brought in a huge mural size painting he had done on a remembered event from his childhood.  It was done so well, and it helped me to see into his soul a little.  I liked that.  Anyway, looking at his I thought of a memory I really think will work up well and meet all of the criteria.  So I am excited now to start that project.  So two classes that I feel good about.  And I feel pretty good about my foundational art class too.  So three classes:)  And I think I have worked out the composition for my painting for painting class.  So I am feeling better about all of my classes.  Now if I can just dig in and work hard it will all be great.   I know part of the problem is that I worry too much about what other people think.  I need to reread that quote about how little people think about anybody but themselves anyway.  Was that Steinbeck?  I remember it was in a dialect.
For mutual tonight we played games, ate brownies and just had a fun night.  We have quite a few new girls so we thought it was important to have a fun night and get to know one another a little better.  I think it was a success.  I do love those girls!
And now I am about to hit the sack.  I have been working on images for a couple of my projects all afternoon and most of the evening.  It will feel good to get some shut eye.  I hope your day went well.  Take care out there in cyberspace!!  I hope you have a good night's rest.  Sweet Dreams!!  Melody

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Critiques and Other Bad Ideas

Hi again.  I am blogging to figure out what it is I am feeling this afternoon.  Perhaps I am just tired...I hope so.  Anyway I just suffered through another ctitique.  Maybe I am exaggerating, but it was a hard one.  We all put up our studies and started going through each person's work.  Maybe it was just a little harsh today...I am not sure.  But each critique started out pretty positive and then turned not so positive...especially the teacher's remarks.  And it didn't sound like she was being too critical...it just felt like it.  Anyway, when they got to mine the teacher said we were spending way too much time on each one so shorten it up.  So I didn't say much...just a brief intro.  Then I got very nice comments from most of the class members.  And the teacher was positive too.  But then she wanted to know if I was going to keep anything abstract in it, or just do a landscape scene.  I said I wasn't sure, that I was still working things out, but that I had hoped to bring in a few elements.  Anyway, then she said that I didn't really need to paint that scene again...that I had done a thorough job already...which really threw me because I had only done a very quick workup on a small scale.  I had intended to work on ocean waves and seashore and flocks of birds in a big way.  So I asked her afterwards what she meant.  And she said that I had already done such a nice job, did I really want to do it again?  So now I am completely confused.  I thought the whole idea was to work up something and then develop it further....not abandon it completely.  Anyway, I have until Thursday's class to come up with a compositional sketch for the final painting.  I hope I can.  I will have to make this a matter of thought and prayer.  I think I need to put on that thick skin:)  It hurts to paint something very personal and then to have it belittled.  I guess that is the pain of art....you put yourself out on a piece of paper and it hurts to be criticized in any way.  I shouldn't be so sensitive I guess.  I suppose I am just tired.  I did take a picture, although it is kind of blurry.  Don't tell me if you don't like it:)
A few of the paintings

My blurry beach scene with "The Birds"

The sparrows being watched over:)
So...enough venting.  I have an A in there so far, so I don't think she hates my work or anything.  It just felt weird and I left the class feeling like I had been beaten up a little.  I guess I am tired.  The rest of my day went swimmingly:)  Yeah, I was gulping for air!:)  Ha, ha!  I hope your day was better than mine!  And it wasn't really all that bad.  I think I am just feeling overwhelmed anyway, and it is like I just got thrown another high ball or something.  I'd better quit now.  I'm mixing metaphors.  Take care.  Thanks for being my sounding board!  Melody

Usually Unusual

Good morning!  The sun is out again this morning and I am glad for that!  It sure makes it easier to have a sunny outlook:)  Now that I am a little more knowledgeable about what is going on with my knee it seems much easier to deal with too.  I learned that when Tommy was sick....knowledge can be a coping skill.  The more you know the better....usually.  There's that word again.  It makes me laugh a little.  When my folks decided to follow us to Idaho they were a little unprepared for the cold weather.  The second or third week they were here it dropped to 12 below zero.  And of course we told them that it was highly unusual.  And we told them that about everything it seems now.  The winter was unusually cold, the summer was unusually hot, the rainfall was very unusual.  It got to be a joke...and still is.  My dad likes to comment on the unusual weather we're having.
Well, today is foundational art and painting.  We are doing a critique on our little preparatory paintings today.  It's funny, when we were viewing Carl Bloch's exhibit I was amazed at all of the small studies he had done in oil....lots of work!!  But I am starting to get it now.  I think it helps to work out the problems on a smaller scale before you paint some huge monster of a mistake.  I will try to remember to take a photo or two to share.  I kind of like these little paintings.
I hope you have a wonderful and inspiring day.  Take care out there!  I'm still pulling for you.  We're all in this together!!!  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Monday, April 18, 2011

And the Doctor Said:

OK, it is official.  I have torn my meniscus...drat!!  I was hoping I would see the doctor and he would say, "My mistake.  Go home take two of these and you will be all better by the morning."  Instead he said that the MRI showed a torn meniscus, some kind of a little cyst, called a Baker's cyst on the back of my knee that he said was common,  and a little arthritis.  He said that it is an easy out-patient surgery.  They just snip away the offending tissue and usually you go home feeling better than when you came.  The word "usually" has me a tad worried, but I suppose I will be a usual case.  It is scheduled for April 29th, so if anything goes wrong I will miss the final week of school:)   But he said it is rare for things to go wrong.  And I will be glad to get it behind me!
So speaking of getting things behind me, I had a fairly good critique today in my drawing class.  The teacher said he would pick a few of the drawings this time...and he started with mine.  He didn't have to ask whose it was, which was a relief since it was a self portrait.  I don't think he was very familiar with the original work of Sir John from a few things he said, but generally he said positive things.  He did say I should have worked at darkening the graphite section more:)  I knew that!  I was just afraid I would ruin what I had already done.  And I think he understood it was a short time that we had to work on it.   So I got that behind me.  Now I think all that is left is final projects in each of my classes....and maybe a final exam for my foundations class.  So I am in the finish of the race to the end of the semester.  I think my last day will be May 9th.  I hope I can get it all done!
I have been listening to npr today going back and forth to school, and I have been sad to hear of the terrible tornadoes in the east.  I hope that they have the help they need.  I keep thinking of people cold and wet without shelter.  But then I think probably they are being helped.  I will have to watch CNN for a bit.  I hope your day is warm and dry and safe!  Take care out there in cyberspace!  I will post more art work as I create it...which might be two or three things this week:)  HAGFHE!!!  Melody

Mary Poppins

Good morning!  It is raining here....again!  I shouldn't complain.  We still haven't turned on the sprinklers, so without the rain we wouldn't have any green anything.  I really do like rain.  I just also really like sunshine.
So I am off to school today to turn in my photos and my self portrait....neither one of which I feel very confident about.  I kept thinking (very early this morning) that I should darken everything I did in graphite to match the rest of the picture in my self portrait.  But I didn't!  I am proud of myself for that:)  Some times it is OK not to be perfect.  I guess I am always trying to be perfect...and failing of course.  But it is not always a conscious thing.  Sigh!  And there are some times I need to try hard for perfection.  I just hope I can learn to tell the difference.  Does this make any sense at all?  It is still early:)
Well, I do wish you a very lovely day....practically perfect in every way:)  Keep smiling!  I'm pulling for you!  We're all in this together!  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Ruckus on the Weyerman Pew

Good afternoon!  And happy Sabbath:)  I am trying to decide how to feel about sacrament meeting today.  I think the meeting itself was fine, but having four little boys on a bench and trying to keep them quiet, and sitting behind older couples who were visibly disturbed by the ruckus, left me feeling very defeated...especially when one of them had to be taken out of church and kicked the head of the lady sitting in front of us....not hard, but....oh well.  I guess I will learn to not let cousins sit next to each other in church.  We were headed for disaster without even realizing it.   It was all saved though when I had to take Taylor into my MIA maid class.  We were watching the second half of the Joseph Smith movie.  About 15 minutes into it, Taylor whispered, "Grandma, this is a really good movie!"   That made me feel like maybe struggling with boys in church was not such a bad idea after all.  Then when he whispered, "I hope that Joseph doesn't get killed!" with all the tender emotion that an 8 year old boy can muster, I decided that it had all been worth it....
Since then I have had a nice supper (what they call dinner eaten at lunch isn't it?), and I am headed for a short nap.  And I hope for a half an hour or so I don't have to control anyone else's behavior!  Mothers really have it tough, don't they?  I am glad to be a grandma.  At least I get a time out!
So I am all set for school tomorrow....it just sounds very tiring.  I guess I will go take that nap now.  I hope your Sunday has been reverent and peaceful, and if not I hope maybe a wonderful little grandchild will make it all worth while for you too!  Take care out there!  I'm still pulling for you!  We're all in this together!!!  HAVVVGW!!!!  Melody

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mad as a Hatter!

Hi!  Just reporting in.  I think I am done.  I tried to imitate the original Alice in Wonderland illustrations (by Sir John Tenniel) of the Mad Hatter....with a bad imitation of my face substituted.  I am smirking just a little to clue you into the joke.  This time I think I look like my grandma Phillips.  Funny that I look like my relatives!  I also substituted Johnny Depp's hat.  I like that hat!  The original was not as fancy.  We are supposed to use photos and photocopies and different media.  So I have ink and graphite and the hat is a photo and the hands and bow tie are photocopies.   I kind of like it, and I really like that I can put it away!!!!
So I forgot to mention the MRI.  I was wrong.  I had never had one of those before...just a CT scan.  It was very loud, but painless.  I kept thinking of ray guns:)  Anyway, I will talk to the doctor on Monday and find out the results.
I hope your day is going well.  Take care!  Melody

Junk:)

Good morning!  I hope the sun is shining for you today.  It is sunny and gorgeous here today.  I guess I will share this dismal failure of a painting...and then get on with the next version.  It's funny how you can really get into something you are painting and think that it is going so fantastically.  Then you walk away and come back and realize what junk you have painted.  Oh well.  Looking at it now I can see some family resemblance....I think I have painted my cousin Sally:)  At age 20!  Sigh!   I hope I can use this day to better advantage!  It is just filled with other commitments that I am going to have to skip....like Taylor's soccer game.  He and Gabe are coming over at dinnertime to spend the night and go to church tomorrow, so I will get to see them.  But unless some miracle happens and I suddenly learn to draw myself quickly and well, I will have to skip the fun.  Or maybe I will use part of this and make a collage of some sort, aging the character of the Mad Hatter into an old and wise caterpillar or something:)  Or maybe I will just start all over, use pencil and allow myself an easier version.  Although I find pencil challenging too.  Yeah, I am a little discouraged.  But it is all good, right?  A year ago I was just copying my painting teacher's paintings.  At least now I am coming up with my own stuff.
So I guess I had better get going with my day.  Here's hoping by the end of today I have a self portrait that looks like me:)  Take care, keep smiling and have a most glorious and wonder filled day!  I'm still pulling for you!  We're all in this together after all.  Melody

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday morning

Good morning!  I am getting an MRI this morning....the second this year.  The first one was for when they thought I might have a clot in my lungs.  This one is to see if my meniscus in my knee is really torn and how bad.  I don't mind the procedure....just the cost.  Oh well.  I will at least meet my deductible this year.
So after the test I need to draw!!!!  And I also need to go to BSU and print another couple of photos.   I thought I was done, but the square ones are not really square.  I may just not worry about it...ha, ha!  I guess what I really mean is, I may not have the choice.  I really have to get my drawing done.  Soooooo...have a wonderful day.  I'm going to start drawing now!  Melody

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Evening News

Howdy!  I am home from a long day at school.  And it feels soooooo good!  But I had a good day today.  I got back an A grade in my painting class for the political painting, so that felt good.  And I am developing another painting for that class.  I think it will not have to be weird after all:)  Anyway, I am hoping to come up with a nice painting.
I printed some pictures for my photography class.  I kind of like them.  But I may have to go back and print a couple more on Friday or Saturday.  I ran out of time to get them just right.  They are not so dark as they appear here.  And there are some funny shadows in these that aren't really there:)




  The first one is of an altered landscape, and the others are just pictures from an area in downtown Boise.  I like photography, but I still like drawing and painting more.  I think it is the process of all of it that I enjoy, but when I am painting or drawing I am transported to somewhere in my mind that is all work and all play at the same time:)  It is nice.
There are all kinds of new little lambs across the street!  I think Spring is in full swing.  Even the little Killdeer birds are starting into their fake a broken wing mode.  So they must have eggs around.  It has been a little sunny today.  The clouds keep trying to hide the sunshine, but I think the sun won today.
Well, I hope you are having a lovely day where ever this finds you.  Take care and keep smiling!  We're all in this together.  HAVVVGE!!  Melody

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sharing Again



Good afternoon!  I am finding joy in today despite how tired I feel.  My daughter Julie posted some new photos from their trip to Ghana.  Such sweet children!  I thought I would share.  Then I had better get back to homework.  I am writing a paper and drawing myself tonight.  At least a rough draft.  Oh, and mutual too, of course.  It should be interesting.  Take care!  I hope you have a most fantastic evening!  Melody

Blue Fabric

Guten Dias!  Yes, I do have my languages just a bit confused.  And my brain is too!  For some reason it thought that morning started at 3 am today.  I kept telling it to go back to sleep and it did finally about 5:30.  My alarm went off at 6:)  So, even with double the sleep meds my brain is still not tired I guess:)  I am leaving early this morning because I forgot my camera yesterday and I was planning to take my downtown pictures.  I borrowed my dad's camera so I wouldn't have to make the long trek home, but it didn't work.  So I am going a little early to snap some shots!  I did feel sort of silly yesterday taking pictures when the camera wouldn't shoot.  And I suppose I have wasted a roll of film.
So in the interest of sharing former artwork I am posting a painting I did for my painting class.  It is part of the first series we did. It has been hanging in the hall at school, but she gave them back to us yesterday.   I worked hard on that blue cloth trying to get it to look like fabric.  I still like this painting because of all of the colors I used.  It was fun.
Well, I need to get going.  I hope you have a most wonderful and glorious day today.  It is supposed to rain some more here.  Yesterday was glorious with sunshine though, so I am doing just great!  I hope you are too!  Keep smiling!   And HAVVVGW!!!!  Melody

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Finding my Muchness!

Good morning!  I hope that it is.  I have a lot to accomplish today for school, and then tonight is our last rehearsal for the instruments in orchestra.  We have one more dress rehearsal with the choir.  I have fun doing this, but it is one more time user.  I have tried bringing homework there, but it doesn't get done.  Someone really should invent a counter for marking rest time in orchestra.  I spend a lot of time counting!  But that is probably a good thing.  And playing music is supposed to be good for your brain too.
So in school I have my foundational art class and my painting class.  I spent all afternoon yesterday working out compositional studies for painting class.  The ones I like I don't think my teacher will like.  Oh well, that is why I am in school....to learn the craft.  I just wish there was more freedom to paint what I want to paint.
Well, I'd better scoot.  I hope your day is merry and bright!  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Monday, April 11, 2011

Posting a Script

Hi!  The diagnosis is a torn meniscus.  And the doctor said.....that made me laugh.  I did this weird mind trip to monkeys jumping on the bed.  Sorry:)  Anyway I am scheduled for an MRI on Friday and then I will go and see the doctor next Monday to decide what to do.  He seemed to think surgery....just a simple little procedure....I guess I should mention to him that my aunt died from complications of a knee surgery!  But I am sure it was more serious and it was lots of years ago.  This would be athroscopic...I think that is what he called it....tiny incisions and tiny instruments.
So my drawing class was interesting.  We talked about our self portraits and he suggested we have fun with it.  I asked him if I could be a character....no wise cracks here:)  He wasn't sure what I meant.  I said like Alice in Wonderland or the Snow Queen or something.  He said, "Sure, this doesn't have to be all serious.  I just think you need to try drawing yourself.  And not the back of your head!"  I laughed at that.  So when I was at Walmart picking up some pain meds, I also picked up a copy of Alice and Narnia....for research!  I think I may even draw myself as the mad hatter.  It might fit!  And I love the eyes they did on him.  But I love the Snow Queen in Narnia.  It is a bit out of character, but I might like drawing swords and ice.  I will try it all out.  I have all the way until Monday!  That is also the day my paint studies are due, and my photos.  It is starting to get close to finals.  I think the first week in May is the last week before finals.  Time is sure speeding on by.  I suppose this is normal for this time of life.  But I feel like that little squirrel on Over the Hedge when he drank caffeine....at hyper speed!  Here's a link if you are clueless to what I am referring.
http://youtu.be/0sGlETQIMUo
Sooooo, hope your day is going well.  HAVVVGW!!!  And HFHE!  Melody

Guten Tag!

Good morning!  I am ready for school, but first I have a doctor's appointment.  I am glad to go and figure out what can be done to get this knee to heal.  I have been printing off more images for my painting class tomorrow and also a few of me to do a self portrait.  My favorite so far is this one.  I guess because I remember how happy I felt next to the shore.  How healing it feels to me to be next to the ocean.  When they interview those people in Japan who do not want to leave their homes next to the ocean, I can understand why.  The power and majesty of the ocean are remarkable.  I guess I have a healthy respect for it.
Well, I just wanted to say hellooooo out there.  I am hoping your day is wunderbar!  Take care.  Melody

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hi!

Good Sabbath!  We have had a nice one so far.  I enjoyed the speakers at church very much.  And my lesson is done for one more week.  We watched the Joseph Smith movie for most of the lesson.  The girls really liked it and most had not seen it.  The lesson said to show "The First Vision" which is also a good movie, but they have all seen it a lot.  So this was a good substitute.  I like the way the movie is done.  I heard the director talk at Women's conference one year and I was impressed with his desire to produce good, wholesome movies of excellent quality.   He felt that we needed to be more discriminating in what movies we watched and that the rest of the world judged us by the movies that came out of our country.  It was a sobering talk.  It has been quite a few years ago that I heard it and it still influences me.
Something said in the movie really struck me this time...."the Lord calls us and qualifies us for the work".  I may have that not quite right, but at any rate it made me think how important it is not to doubt our abilities to do the Lord's work.  I tend to think I am not good enough...at my art, at teaching, at writing, whatever.  But I think I am learning that the Lord can qualify us if we let him....humbling ourselves and applying ourselves.  It is very amazing.
I have been looking for a photo of me that I can do a self portrait from.  It is a little discouraging to look through and not find one I really like.  I would rather draw myself at 16 than 61!  But I guess I can't get out of it.  I asked my drawing teacher if I could do one taken from behind.  He laughed and said that would not do....unless I wanted to do one like Norman Rockwell.  Right!  As if I could!  I am feeling a bit challenged with two self portraits starting this next week.  Sigh!  I know I can do this!  I will just have to be humble and patient and realize that even Norman Rockwell had to start somewhere!
Well, just wanted to send a "hi" out into the great unknown cyberspace.  I hope your day is going well!  Take care!  I am still pulling for you!  We're all in this together!  HAWS!!!   Melody

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Soccer Saturday

Hi again!  I thought I'd better record a few things, since I will have forgotten them by tomorrow morning's post.  First off, we went to Taylor's first soccer game.  It was fun to watch little 8 year old boys trying to decide which voice to listen to....their coach's or their mom and dad's.  Taylor played well I thought.  He actually knew to listen to the coach, and he watched for the ball!  Not bad.  I got a couple of pictures of him that are pretty cute.
Getting into formation


After the game he asked his mom if he could come to grandma's house.  She said yes, so they went home to pack a few things and then brought him here in time for dinner.  As he was sitting down for dinner he was giggling a little.  He said, "Grandma, I always have a smile on my face when I come to your house."  I said, "Yes, you do.  And I always get a smile on my face when you come to my house."  Then he gave me a hug.  I said, "Taylor, sometime when you are a little older than you are now, you will begin to think that it is not cool to hug your mom.  But I just want you to know and remember it will always be cool to hug your grandma!"  I just had to put in my two cents worth!  As he was eating he sneezed quite loud and said, "Grandma!  I know that gravity is what keeps your feet on the ground, but what if you sneezed so hard that you went flying up into space!  That would be so cool!"  Mel thought that was fodder for another Taylor story and started in about Taylor and his gravity-defying sneezes.  I think we may have to have a three way collaboration and write and illustrate stories together.  It might be fun.
Okay, the second thing is the sign downtown:)  "Apex - the former spouse of a gorilla!  And Impatience - a wait problem."  I thought those were both very cute!  Mel is working on my frame to stretch a canvas for my painting class.  He is so helpful!  I appreciate his help and I hope I am learning from watching:)  I will be doing the actual canvas stretching by myself.  It will be nice to have this skill.  
Well, I hope your Saturday has been wonderful.  Take care and sweet dreams!  Melody
30 is a lucky number I think!

Buenos Dias!

Good morning!  I like Saturdays!  So today I am going to really use this one!  I got up at four when my knee was talking to me and I researched some more stuff for the painting I have coming up.  I am supposed to work up 4 or 5 little paintings to insert into a larger painting.  I like my ideas so far, but I need to simplify them so that they are doable.  I tend to get rather elaborate in my concepts, and we are limited in time.  So I think I will copy David Salle's style just a bit, since part of the assignment is to copy techniques and style from contemporary artists.  And I am going to use some of Vija Celmins exactness, and mess it all up into something original of my own...I hope.  It should be interesting.  I am going with a theme of "His eyes are on the sparrow", and "Count your many blessings".  Yeah, I am still a singing granny after all.  But I am trying to make this something I can draw....and paint of course.  In researching the song, "His Eye is on the Sparrow" I found out the story behind the song...from Wickipedia:  "Civilla Martin, who wrote the lyrics, said this about her inspiration to write the song based in the scriptures outlined above,
Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nigh twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle's reply was simple: "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me." The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" was the outcome of that experience.
—Civilla Martin"
Yesterday's almost private lesson on drawing was really good.  I learned a lot about drawing figures in the old style of the Renaissance masters.  And it was fun to be able to really ask questions.  There were only 5 students who came.  That's kind of sad when you think how much was taught.  But their loss.  I enjoyed it immensely.  And I got to know the others who came better too.
Today I am making a canvas stretcher for my next project in painting class.  Mel said he would help.  Then I have to make some compositional drawings, start painting the small paintings, buy more film, write a 2 page paper in response to an article on the "Practice of Looking", and plan my lesson for young women tomorrow.  It's a lot, but I can do it.  And I am glad I can:)
So I hope your day is wonderful out there in cyberspace!  I'm still pulling for you, and hoping that all is well.   I am still hobbling around, but I am learning how to walk so my knee is not constantly in pain.  My dad leant me a cane, but I really would rather not use that if I don't have to.  But it is kind of funny.  I see the doctor day after tomorrow, and yes, I am counting the hours 'til I get to see him.  I keep thinking that the conference talk on pain was just for me:)  Of course, we all experience pain.  I guess that is part of us all being in this together!  Oh well.  Enjoy the journey!!!  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dreams and Visions

Good morning!   I am sitting here with ice on my knee.  That seems to help the most.  But I am excited for today.  My drawing teacher is giving a special voluntary class today.  He is teaching us how to sketch and draw like the old masters.  I guess it was something he learned going to graduate school in New York.  I am glad he is willing to share.  I asked him if he wanted to charge money, and he looked at me a little surprised and said, "No, I just spent so much money learning this stuff, and I want to share it with other people!"  So I am glad he has a generous spirit, and that I get to go learn today.  It is the only thing on my agenda...besides laundry and organizing and paying a few bills.
So the technique involves four colored pencils (white, brown, red, black) and a yellow ochre paper.  I guess the paper helps to blend colors to look like other colors.  He explained it just a little and it sounded so interesting.  He showed us stuff Rubens had done from a book he brought to class.  He really likes books and has a ton.  I guess he went to the met when the economic downturn was starting and they had all of their books discounted.  Also many of the galleries were folding and selling things for nothing.  I wish I could have done the same, but I already have more books than I have room for in this house.
I had a wonderful bunch of dreams last night about my painting coming up.  I kept waking up with another scene in my mind to paint!  It was wonderful.  I wanted to get up and draw them, but it hurts to walk around, and I decided I would remember.  Most of them I do remember, although not so vividly.  It was wonderful though, like a gift from heaven:)  I really felt like that.  I often dream about painting, but this is the first time I saw the things I need to paint.  And it all will fit within the assignment and I think will express my feelings about the plan of happiness without hitting people over the head with it.  So I am excited.  I just hope I can draw them all well enough to paint them all well enough.  Although that does seem to be happening more easily than it used to happen.  And now I am excited about this next project.  It will be fun!
Well, I would love to write more, but I haven't much more to say.  Despite the pain from my knee, I am enjoying life these days.  I feel so blessed!  I hope your life is feeling blessed also.  Take care out there in cyberspace.  I'm still pulling for you!  Keep smiling.  And have a most wonderful and glorious day!  Melody

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Portrait of Me

Buenos Dias!  I am feeling more like myself.  I took a really hot bath and soaked my knee. It still isn't working right, but it isn't making me cry:)  Yeah, I am a little tired.  I kept waking up in pain last night...so maybe this is as bad as child birth:)  Naw, I am just getting older and less resilient I think.  I did go and get an Xray and I have an appointment with an orthopedic specialist Monday morning.  So I will be fine.  It just feels like I am old, worn out and yucky! :)
But I have some value still to my sweet grandchildren.  Elle just came in here to ask for help with math definitions.  Pretty cool that she thinks I will know.  I am glad for google!  And Aaron has been extra huggy since their trip south of the border.  I think he missed me, or at least my cooking.  He loves to snack!
So today has been good so far.  I made it to my first class a little late, but I was able to sit through the whole thing without grimacing.  Then I drove over to the liberal arts building and parked right next to the door by the elevator and went upstairs to fetch my photo.  So I don't have to worry about that.  I was lucky to find a parking spot, but I said a little prayer and just as I was pulling up another car pulled out and I had a spot to park.   That is somewhat of a miracle!  My faith is pretty strong these days.  After that I went and met Kim for lunch, then came back to school and found another parking spot close to my class.  But my teacher was not there, and I realized I could go home and get more done.  So I drove all the way home.  That commute was tiring today.  But I am home and safe and feeling better already.
So there is my daily report:)  I wish I could say I had come up with a brilliant idea for my painting project.  But alas, I still have no clue what to paint.  And since yesterday I have two more drawing assignments...both of them self portraits.  But of course that doesn't mean a typical one in either class.  We have to come up with lots of ideas about who we really are.  That should be fun.  I wonder if I'll know!
Well, I hope your day has been fun and inspiring and joyful.  Take care!  Keep smiling, and remember I'm still pulling for you!  HAVVVGE!!!  Melody

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I know He watches over me!

Hi again!  I always find I need to blog when Mel is gone for the evening:)  I guess I feel like I am checking in somehow.  Anyhoo...I am feeling a bit discouraged tonight.  My knee has finally called it quits, and I am limping seriously now.  I barely got through the day on campus...walking across to the Liberal Arts building from the parking garage and back again and then over to the Arts West building.  It is quite a hike and I went slowly because my knee was more sore than it has been.  But by the end of my last class I was hobbling and every time I took a step I was getting serious shooting pain into my knee.  Drat!!  I was so hoping this would heal on its own.  So I have an X-ray scheduled for the morning, and then I will get a call from a knee doctor.  I called my own doctor and he arranged it all.  I figured it would be better than an expensive visit to the ER.  I hope I can do something besides surgery.  I am not keen on surgery of any kind.  But I suppose I will do what needs to be done.
On the brighter side...I got a very nice photo print today, so one assignment is done for photography.  The next photo is supposed to be of a building or space in downtown Boise.  I am kind of excited about that one.  I like a lot of the downtown area.  And I am starting to feel like I can take a picture with composition and contrast in mind, and I am getting better results.  In the assignment today I had quite a few pictures to choose from that would have worked.  So I guess I am learning something:)
In my drawing class we did a critique on a few of the pictures...mine wasn't picked this time.  Looking at all of the different approaches I realize I am more of a traditional artist than my classmates.  Or maybe I just haven't learned yet how to do art in that more modern way.  I like things to look like something...not a hodge podge of disjointed stuff.  Oh well.  It was interesting, and I didn't have to suffer a public critique.  One of the kids whose work was critiqued, got a very harsh critique from the teacher.  I felt bad because he is a rather quiet and sweet young man, and I know if he felt like I did... that the assignment was very vague...then it would have hurt to be so put down.  I liked his work very much, and told the class I did.  Oh well.  I am sure he will be fine.  He seems to have a strong character.  In the teacher's defense, he does try to be brutally honest, and I know it has helped me at times to find out where I can improve.  It is just so public when it is done in front of the whole class.  But I guess in the real world it might get critiqued in front of a much larger audience.  So I figure they are trying to help us develop a thick skin:)
I am staying home from mutual tonight, nursing my knee.  I feel bad to miss, but it is a dinner and then they are watching the YW broadcast with their moms.  So I will not be too missed I think.  At least I hope not.  And it gives me a chance to work on my painting sketchbook.  We are supposed to have some thumbnail sketches done by tomorrow for our next project.  I have no idea what I want to even paint for our next project.  So I guess I have got to come up with something tonight.  It seems like I am constantly trying to come up with new ideas, and it is hard.   I guess I would love to be coming up with ideas from the scriptures.  But that is not so easy.  I had thought I might do something about sparrows.  There is a song I really like that Eclipse sings, "His eye is on the sparrow...and I know He watches over me."  I just am not sure how I would depict that in a contemporary art fashion.  I will think on it.  And I need to remind myself that I am learning "how" right now.  Eventually I will be able to paint the things of my heart.  But first I need to learn the craft.
Yesterday I had a small miracle happen in my behalf.  We use these huge, steel, ancient easels for painting class.  Anyway, every once in a while they fall, usually when someone is trying to fold one up and put it away. I was sitting and painting kind of close to that area when a guy accidentally knocked one over.  It missed me by only a few inches.  The teacher was a little shook by it, saying how lucky I was that it didn't hit me.  I felt like I was not lucky, but blessed.  I really felt protected.  It was a good feeling.  And it made me think of that song:)  And that I won't sit there again!!!
Well, I suppose I have talked your ear off one more time.  I hope your evening is going well.  I am still happy and excited about life and learning....even if I am in excruciating pain (that's a joke....child birth was much worse than this!)  Take care and keep smiling!  Sweet Dreams!!!  Melody

Springing Forward

Good morning!  It is so far.  Today is my critique on my mixed media painting.  I am a little nervous, but I can get through this.  Up to this point in that class it has been very positive, so I will hope it continues.  I did find out what kitsch means yesterday in my art foundations class, and it has nothing to do with the kitchen, so I think I am safe:)  I am mostly worried about the sky in the painting.  It is very loose and mostly white, with very light values of blue and gray.  But I can't bring myself to do anymore to it.  I think it is what I intended.  So...confidence!  I can do hard things!!
The other class is photography.  I did contact sheets on a couple of rolls I took of an altered landscape and I think I have a couple of good shots....we shall see.  When they are so tiny it is hard to really tell.  But I think I can get a good photo out of 72 shots.
Tonight is mutual.  I think we are doing a stake thing.  I am supposed to go to a lecture at the university by a visiting artist, but I am passing on that one.  The artist is one of the leaders in the feminist art movement, and a proponent of gay rights.  I think it would just make me sad.  So even though I could probably get out of the mutual meeting tonight, I won't.  I choose to stay on the more positive side of things.
Well, I hope your day is wonderful.  I think it is supposed to rain some more here today.  I keep thinking I should check our asparagus....it loves the rain!  Take care and keep smiling!  I'm pulling for you!  HAVVVVGW!!!!!!   Melody

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Good Day

Good morning!  Things are hopping here....or maybe I should say people.  The kids are back from their excursion to Mexico and I guess they are excited to be back.  I like the noise:)  I guess I will never really get used to a quiet, tomb-like solitude:)  And maybe I will never really have to.  I think I expect things to be hopping, even when I can't.  So many years of a house full of children makes one have certain expectations I guess.  Anyway, I am in my zone!
Which is where I find myself a lot lately.  I am in my zone whenever I am drawing or painting.  I really do like the place my brain goes when I am actively involved in that.  Yesterday in my drawing class we did chalk on black paper.  I had never tried that before, but it was fun.  Here is my picture.  It is a little dark in the photo....except for Taylor's hand.  I have to work on that.  I think I may practice this some more.  I have always wanted to try it.
Well, I have a family to feed and get out the door for their school.   I hope your day is cheery and bright!  Take care out there in cyberspace!  I'm still pulling for you!  We're all in this together.  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm Walking on Sunshine!

Good morning!  It is a lovely overcast day today.  But no matter.  I saw my  first pelicans of the season yesterday...five of them flying over the Snake River.  Mel and I drove over there between conferences to get out of the house and get a little fresh air...and also to take some photos:)  Anyway I did get some pictures of the pelicans....but it is on black and white film, so no sharing today.  They seemed to be enjoying the sunshine too, as they soared high above the river.  They are such magnificent fliers!  If I could fly like a pelican I would not ever be afraid of flying!  Well, unless there was a hurricane or something:)  Maybe that is why they come to Idaho.  We don't usually have hurricanes.
Well, today I register for classes for Fall.  I am kind of excited!  I am planning to take my first illustration class.  The teacher is a BYU alumnus....like me.  So I am looking forward to that.  I am also going to take another more advanced painting class, a printmaking class and a class in digital photography.  Yeah, I will be busy again.  But that seems to keep me out of mischief:)  And I am not so available to babysit:)  This summer I am signed up for a class in art history and then one afterwards in more foundational art.  So I guess it is full steam ahead.  I don't want to miss my registration appointment this morning.  It is here on the internet.  So I am going to be late for my first class today...photography.  I told the teacher about it last class.  I hope he remembers.
The other class today is drawing.  Our mixed media piece is not due until Wednesday, but it should give me an opportunity to ask a few questions about it.  I am still worried it is too "kitchy", a term my teacher likes to throw around.  I assume it means something for your kitchen, but I really have no idea.  Anyway, at this point it doesn't matter a whole lot, since I have very little time to change it.  And besides I like it.  That is probably not a good sign:)
Tonight we are going to family home evening at some friends.  They are trying to start an empty nesters group.  I am not sure we will ever really qualify for that, but they said we could come anyway:)  I hope you have a lovely day out there in cyberspace today.  Take care and keep smiling.  And HAVVV GRRRRReat Wan!!!  Melody

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunshiny Sabbath Thoughts

Good Sabbath!  This morning I was impressed with a blog that posted an account of the experiences of the Sendai mission president during the recent crisis there.  I am posting a link if you are interested.
http://www.mission.net/japan/sendai/page.php?pg_id=5268
It is very inspiring and makes me realize we really do have a God of miracles.  I am so grateful for that knowledge.  I have been very impressed with the speakers in conference.  Each one seems to know exactly what I need to hear:)  I especially liked Brother Kent F.  Richard's talk yesterday morning when he was talking about being a surgeon and how he inflicted pain upon people everyday:)  He talked about a little girl that was in intensive care and how she recounted to her parents all of the angels that were standing around her bed...all of them deceased family members.  Then she said how all of the children in the ICU had angels around their bed.  It made me cry, remembering my own son in the ICU at UCSF, surrounded by other small children and even little babies, and how strong the spirit seemed there.  I know that the Lord loves each of us and is there for us in our darkest hours.  I have not always appreciated how closely he cares for us.  But it is more evident to me as I grow older and experience more.
I am so grateful for this time of my life.  It is not the easiest time, but I think I have learned a lot.  I am grateful for good family and wonderful friends and the talents that I have been blessed with.  I know that I have them for a wise purpose in the Lord.  I am not quite sure what that is, but I am grateful to be given the opportunity to develop my talents.  I just hope I can use my gifts wisely.
Well, I am needing to fix breakfast for my sweet husband and then we will enjoy more sessions of conference today.  What a miracle it is to be able to watch it live in the comfort of our own home!  I can remember when it was not so easy to attend conference.
So have a wonderful Sabbath Day.  The sun is back here again today....or maybe I should say the clouds have moved on.  The sun never leaves.  Keep smiling.  It will all be worth it!  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Melody's World

Good morning!  Today promises to be a busy one again.  Of course there is conference and I also need to do some grocery shopping.  And I may tweak my painting a little.  I keep debating with myself over that one.  I don't want to ruin it, but I also feel like it needs something...more detail in the grasses or lake or ....? I keep thinking I need to look at "Christina's World" and see how the grass was done in that.  Andrew Wyeth really did know how to paint!
So...not much to report.  Life goes on.  I have a roll of film to finish taking today on an altered landscape.  We will be developing film on Monday.  I guess I am a little stressed about it because I had a dream about it.  I was at the coast near Santa Cruz at a beach that is always in my dreams, but that I don't recognize when I am awake.  It is kind of a combination of Santa Cruz and the Cliff House in SF.  Anyway, in my dream I commented to Mel about that being the beach I always dream about.  I dream often about a tsunami coming there.  Anyway after I told Mel that, the sky darkened and a tsunami was coming!  So I got out my camera to take a few pictures, but something happened to the film winding gear and all of a sudden the film was coming out of the camera and was all exposed.  Funny dream, huh?  I spent a lot of time in my dream figuring out how to save the film....no concern for the impending tsunami.  I guess that is the way dreams are....totally absorbed in whatever little circumstance has caught your attention now.....kind of like a blog:)  Sorry this can be so boring!
I hope your day goes well out there in cyberspace today.  And that your weather is nicer than ours.  I guess the sunshine is leaving for a while.  I really did enjoy it while it was here for a couple of days.  It is supposed to rain and cool down today.  Good thing I have a warm house and a TV to watch conference!  Take care and HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Friday, April 1, 2011

Finito!

This

Plus This
Yes!  I am  done!  Yay...oh wait.  I just noticed I have soldiers in a row...or rather bushes in a row.  Drat!  I guess I will have to add more bushes or something.  But most of it is done.  Time out while I fix the bushes.......There, that's better:)  Now I am really done, until I notice something else amiss.  I have the photo copy incorporated into the blades of the windmill.  And I have used Conte crayon, ink, permanent marker, water color and I guess that is all. Now I just have to come up with a meaning.....I think for me it is the untold story of someone's life.  And an end of an era or a generation.  I like the little blackbird in the foreground.  It is not as ominous as a raven quoting "Nevermore!"  But it is suggestive of that in a more subtle way:)  At least that is how I am hoping my teacher sees it....and the rest of the class.  Or I suppose they could ignore the fall colors and think it was a welcome to Spring:)
Equals Done!!!!
So now that I am done with this I just have some reading to do and I will be done with my homework for Spring break.  It feels pretty good!  And it is Friday night, so now I just have to come up with a hot date....hmmmm.  Maybe a movie...with Mel! :)  Take care out there in cyberspace!  I'm still pulling for you...even on April Fools' day!  Melody


Little House on the Prairie

Good morning!  I am feeling very encouraged this morning.  I have completed one element of my mixed media drawing....yay!  Just two more to go.  So far I have used watercolor and ink.  My next step is to use a dry medium.  I went down by the canal yesterday to sit and draw, but the wind was terrible.  I was able to get a rough sketch, but my paper was threatening to fly away so I had to come back here to paint.
So can you tell which part is a photograph?  That's right, the front of the house is a photo.  The roof and side are watercolor.  I am quite pleased with the results.  And you know for me that is something.  I usually am very critical of my own work.  But I think it just feels so good to have something done on this project that I have suspended my harsh judgement for a while.  The photo makes it look like the house is leaning, but I guess that is a photographic error:)  In the painting it is fine.  This is the little house down by our canal.  I have always loved this little house and have painted it several times.  But this time I like the results.  Now I have to tackle the windmill and I think I am going to draw a fence with a bird sitting on it.  The part you see here is only about a third of the picture.  It will be 22" by 30 " when it is completed.  The trick is going to be to use a dry medium and make it all look cohesive.
So....onward and upward:)  I hope things are grrrreat out there in cyberspace.  Keep smiling, and hold on.  It seems this roller coaster ride isn't over for a while yet:)  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody