Thursday, February 28, 2013

Paper Chasing!

Good morning!  I have a good start to my day...up at 1:30 til 4:30.  But then I slept in until 8:30.  So I think I got enough sleep to last until naptime.  My goal is to write one paper this morning.  I think I will do my Renaissance paper first.  It is comparing two paintings or works of art from the time period we have covered so far.  The trick is that it has to be at least four pages.  I think I would have no trouble with two, but four sounds like I may have to pad things.  Maybe not.  I will see.
Then this afternoon I think I will work on a few sketches copying Mr. Froud.  I am actually kind of excited to do this.  I am pretty good at imitating.  It is the original stuff that I have trouble with:)  And I am feeling....not too sick.  I am coughing louder, but the achey stuff has subsided.  So I think I can make it through.  I just won't be able to visit Barb at the hospital.  But I think she has enough people to make it through for a few days.
Well, onward and upward!  Hope things are happy and well in cyberspace today.  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreatWan!!!  Melody

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Beat of the Drum

Good evening!  (BK's voiceover)
I am feeling a little bummed tonight....I caught the cold!  Augh!  I thought I might after Monday's seminar class, because the girl sitting next to me looked so sick!!!  She had rheumy eyes, and she coughed like her lungs were coming up.  Anyway, last night when my throat started feeling raspy and my cough took on a new dimension, I realized that once again I had been too polite.  I should have just rudely gotten up and moved away from her.  But I didn't want to hurt her feelings.  And maybe I caught it from someone Mel who is still sounding pretty bad.  In fact about a third of the people in all of my classes have some form of this cold.  It is really running rampant!  And I actually don't feel too sick yet.  I am trying to take good care of myself.
My illustration teacher didn't like my painting very much. He was nice of course, but in a nice way he said I need to concentrate on doing character studies up close and personal, and until I get that right I should forget the scenery.  It's kinda funny, because it is the scenery that I enjoy drawing.  I would love to just do a painting of Yosemite, or Lake Tahoe, or even Lake Lowell.  But landscape painting is considered rather passe at BSU.  I don't think it is even allowed unless you disguise it as a content I did of my brother and I on the beach at Merced River in Yosemite that I painted last year.  Oh well, I do want to learn to paint better, so I will do some more character studies....up close and personal.  I got a book of Brian Froud's at the library called Faeries.  I think it will help.  I will try copying some and then branch off to doing my own version of how he does things.  I also talked my teacher into doing a demo next week...I hope. He was a little non-committal.
My art history classes went well.  I like the people in my classes.  I have made some new friends, and then there are those friends I have known for a while in there too.  It is always fun to see them and catch up a little.  Today we had to write about an alterpiece...unexpected, quiz-like writing.  She said we could do it with another person.  Four of us ended up doing one together.  It was lots of fun.  And together we came up with lots of stuff that on my own I probably would not have had the confidence to write about.  I always doubt myself it really a pediment?  Or was it another name?  So it helped to have three other people saying, "You're right!"  And one of the ladies remembers really well, so she came up with the capital columns and such.  So I think we did OK.  This is the one we looked at by Fra Angelica.
I like these beautiful pieces of Renaissance art.  And I like to see how the subject matter is treated.
After class I went to pick up Barb's daughter at the airport and take her to see her mom at the hospital.  Not really good news there, but Barb is looking much brighter and she is able to get enough oxygen at the hospital.  I am not sure they can do that for her at home.  We will know in a couple of days I guess.  I feel so sorry for her.  But she remains cheerful and positive, and the whole hospital staff is amazed at her cheeriness despite all she is going through.  I think I have said before what an inspiration she is.  I hope I can be as cheery in twenty five years or so.  But just having a cold makes me a little grouchy....not that you can tell:)
Well, I thought I would share a little of my day.  Not too exciting, but plenty enough for me.  I am exhausted tonight!  And I still have papers to write before Monday.  I think I need to learn to enjoy the process.  Deep breaths!!!
I hope things are going well in cyberspace!  I am pulling for you!  We're all in this together!  And those drums are getting rather loud lately...have you noticed?  Take care, keep smiling and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVGN!!!  Melody

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fairy Wings

Good evening (in my best Boris Karloff imitation!).  I hope this day has been great for you.  It has been a little interesting here.  I spent the good part of the morning painting, but then I got a call from my sister that my step mom wasn't doing so well.  So I met my dad and Barb at the doctor's, and they decided to admit her to the hospital.  She has a lung disease and it is progressing and it is getting very hard for her to breathe.  This is so hard for her and my dad.  But she is more comfortable at the hospital.  They are doing tests to see what's going on.  Her daughter is flying in tomorrow, so that is good.
And life goes on for me.  I have been working on my painting for illustration class that is due tomorrow.  I like it pretty much.  Although, it is definitely looking like a children's book illustration...which is what I am going for...right?  I used watercolor, which I sure prefer over acrylics.  I like that I can move the paint particles around on the paper...funny huh?  Anyway, here it is.
I like the deer, and the tree.  But I am not too fond of the fairy.  I think I need to tone down the colors, but I am not quite sure about that.  Also I am not too fond of the fairy lights in the sky around her...and the fog.  It seemed like a good idea at the time:)
My guess is that my teacher will think I need to tone down the yellow and pink.  So maybe I will do that before bedtime.
And that is it:)  I like painting!  Even when things don't turn out perfect, it has been a very calming activity for today.  I really am very worried about Barb, but there is really nothing I can do.  So painting is good.  It helps me to zone and not worry so much.
I guess I will work on those wings!!  I am still pulling for you!!!!!!  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGN!

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Little Sketchy

Howdy!  I am home!  It is the nicest place to be!  But I think the rule of opposites applies here, because I really only appreciate how very nice it is when I have been gone for a while!  I think what is hard about being home is all the things that are calling me to come and wash, mend, dry, fold, wipe, sort or toss them.  I am glad for enough to do to be busy and happy, but it can be a bit overwhelming.  As I am sitting here I am thinking I should start a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, start dinner, clean off the counters, empty the trash, clean my bathroom, and fold a basket of clothes.  But what I really should do is finalize my sketch for illustration class, read, read, read art history, make flash cards for the midterm coming up, memorize terms, and start researching my next illustration project.  So I thought....I'll blog:) I do enjoy this about as much as anything creative that I do.  I think I like seeing what it is I will write about today.  I don't always have a clear idea before I sit down.  But as I write I usually can think of something...even if it is only to write a to do list:)
Today has been an interesting day.  In seminar we had a presentation about pop art and minimalism.  It is fun to see what other class members think about things.  I think I have a bias growing up in the 50's and 60's.  I remember what life was like, and I think it is much more accurate than the sentence or two that they give to it in our texts.  So I occasionally add my two cents worth in class discussions.  I had a fun time with that today as they discussed pop art, Lichtenstein, Warhol, and a few others.  Minimalism I don't relate to as well, so I guess I was quieter on that subject.  But it was still fun to discuss.
In art history class I found that I had read most everything, so the lecture was more of a review.  Which was good, because it gave me a chance to sketch a few of my classmates in my sketchbook.  I have a hard time finding people to draw in my world here at home....because there usually aren't any.  So I have to go to school or the shop or sit in the parking lot at Walmart to find subjects to draw from life.  Or invite my grandkids over.  There were a few here last night, but we had so much fun eating and visiting I forgot to draw!  Anyway, I will share a few images from class today.  They are supposed to be done quickly, contour lines only, so they are admittedly a little sketchy.  But I think I am getting better at being more accurate with my placement of lines.  The hard part is drawing so that nobody knows you are drawing them!  Not an easy task in a class full of art students!

We have watched a couple of good movies in the last week.  When Mel is so sick, he likes to just rest and watch Netflix.  We saw a really good movie, The First Grader, a film about an 84 year old in Kenya that wanted an education.  Then we watched one with Cuba Gooding, jr. about a pediatric brain surgeon....don't remember the name of that one.  But I enjoyed it too.  I like to watch movies with inspiring true stories!
Well, I hope things are going well in cyberspace today.  Did I mention it snowed again?  Really hard, big fluffy flakes just around lunch time.  Then it all melted:)  Definitely crazy weather.  I was glad for a warm classroom!  And a warm house!!!  Take care!  Keep smiling!  And HAVVVVVVVVVVGFHE!!!  Melody

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Thoughts About Fast Food

Good morning!  It is sunny and bright here today.  And I get to lead the choir for Sacrament meeting:)  Yes, I am a little nervous, but mostly because the song is hard.  But they are amazing and I am sure will do wonderfully.  And if not, it is OK.  It is a worship service after all, not a concert.
I am feeling really good today.  I have all of the necessary homework done, so I can really rest from my labors today.  The only thing I didn't do....:)  Renaissance!  I have a couple of chapters to read in Renaissance.  The textbook is pretty boring, but easy reading so maybe I can get it done between classes tomorrow.  She generally lectures about the reading, so it will be fine either way.
My daughter Liz posted a really funny video today on Facebook.  I thought I would share.  It is called, "What if wild animals ate fast food."  Here is the link in facebook.  fast food  If it doesn't work it is on Elena Pavel's wall....and I think it is not restricted.
Well, I am planning to enjoy my day.  I hope things are wonderful and fine in cyberspace today!  Take care!!!  And HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Saturday, February 23, 2013


I am nearing the finish line!  I have read everything for my seminar class and just have to write one more paper!  Just a short one...kind of a journal of what I have read.  This time all about minimalism.  Not an art form I am especially fond of.  I begin to conclude that many of the artists are just really unhappy people!!
Then I only have two art history classes worth of reading to do!  Aaaack!  I just have to realize I won't be caught up for a while.  A week from Monday I have two papers due for those art history classes.  So I can't totally ignore things.  I just have to be like the persistent turtle.  I can't stop reading!
But I can take a break.  All of this reading about pop art and minimalism and post modernism in general has got me thinking, what happened to good old fashioned painting?  I guess that is why I am majoring in illustration.  It makes more sense to me. Eva Hesse
Or this...Joan of Arc by Donato Giancola
Well, enough jabbering.  I had better write my paper....and read!!!   Adios!  Me


Good morning!  I have another day of studying ahead of me.  But I did get one major paper written yesterday.  So that is good.  Today I am reading an article about a South African Political Cartoonist...Zapiro.  This article is of my own choosing.  We hardly ever get to study cartoons, and it seemed like a good thing to read and write about.  And it is quite interesting!  I am enjoying reading stuff about post colonialism.  And I enjoy Zapiro's sense of humor.  Here is one he did about Obama.
Not that I agree or disagree:)  Just sharing.
It snowed here last night!  I was hoping for no more snow, but oh well.  Mel has another cold.  He doesn't seem to ever really get over it.  I feel sorry for him, especially since he had to go into work.  I tried to talk him out of it, but I guess he really does have some pressing work.  This is about the fourth cold he has had since Christmas.  Either that or the one he has just keeps flaring back up.  He didn't get a flu shot either.  I did because they are kind of mandatory when you are at school...and they're free if you have student health insurance.  I have had a bit of a cough, but nothing too serious, so I think it has helped a lot.
I suppose I will be working on homework most of today.  Admittedly I would like to take a break.  But if I do that I will probably fail.  There is just too much to keep up with in school.  Every student I talk to is in the same boat...stressed and overwhelmed.  I think I could draw a good political cartoon about that!  Maybe two guys in a boat labeled accordingly poking holes in the boat, and me trying to bail out with a very small pail:)  I guess it is like this every time, but I tend to forget that until I am in the middle of it again.  I keep breathing deep and telling myself I can do this.  I sure hope I can!
Well, I guess that is it for today.  I hope things are happy and well in cyberspace today.  And just in case you read this Kenny........HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!   It was fun to wake you up this morning!  I love that texts make a noise!!!   HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!!  Melody

Friday, February 22, 2013

Birthday Wishes!

Happy Birthday to my sweet Tommy!
Tommy with his Grandpa Tommy!
He would be 36 years old today.  It is pretty hard to believe!  It has been thirty years almost since he died.  In some ways it does seem like a very long time ago...something distant and removed.  In other ways it seems like yesterday.  I still miss him terribly at times.  Sometimes I think I have him mixed up in my head with a grandson or two.  I will be very happy when we are reunited again!
     Thankfully my other son's, Kenny's, birthday is tomorrow.  I love him so much!  And I am so grateful for his amazing talents in music and art!!!
Kenny with a young version of Gabe
So it really does help to cheer me and bring me back to the present and all that it holds.  I am thankful for him.  He is a good son.  I just wish he lived closer!  He is actually in the process of buying a home in San Leandro!  It will be lots of fun to go and visit and show him all of the old places we stomped around in so long ago.  My parents courted in San Leandro and Oakland!  My grandparents lived in San Leandro...and Oakland.  Such a small world!
     Today I am writing my paper.  And drawing my rough for illustration.  I am feeling good about that. I have it almost laid out on watercolor paper.  I don't know if I will get to paint today....but soon!  I am glad it is feeling good.  For a while it just felt kinda silly.  But I have substituted a granddaughter for the fairy and now it is fun to draw and paint!  Here is my photoshop reference.
You may notice unfinished legs and arms.  I do this by cutting and pasting from photos and things I find on the internet....and so they are not complete.  It will change a lot as I draw it.  But it gives me a good reference and keeps me more in touch with how things actually look, rather than how they are imagined in my sometimes inaccurate memory.  I do a sketch book of drawings from life every day.  And I notice that I cannot even get things right with one glance.  It takes two or three.  By then people are noticing that I am, staring at them.  It can be a bit embarrassing.  But my illustration teacher claims that that is part of being a good artist:)  I read a funny article written before the invention of the camera.  It was about an artist that would run up and sketch people on the street, or beg them to come to his studio to draw them, so he could get the right character.  I am grateful for internet images!  And lots of grandchildren who love to pose!!!
Well, I hope life is good in cyberspace!  I am pulling for you and wishing all of the best to come your way.  Just in case you need a little is an Irish blessing!

Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad.

Always remember to forget
The friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
Those that have stuck by you.

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Laughing and Smiling Out Loud!!!

Good morning!  It is a beautiful sunshiney day today.  I am grateful for that!  And I am grateful for work to do.  Although I would love to just take off for the mountains!  Or the ocean.  So maybe I will have to do all of my homework by Saturday so that we can take off on a jaunt.  It sounds like a plan!
I have a paper due Monday morning....actually two.  So I can't skip homework today.
Another thing I am grateful for is....flies:)  I am not kidding.  When I start seeing flies I know that Spring is just around the corner.  At least that is what it means out here in the country.  Yesterday I saw a new born calf....still steaming....and its mother licking him dry.  I am often surprised by the way that life continues on, despite what is going on in mine.  There is quite a bit of comfort in that I think.  Although I guess it depends on how you look at it.
So today I am going to read everything I need to read for post colonialism.  I think there is a book on reserve at the library that I am supposed to read a chapter in.  So I may go over to school to do that after I have read all of the other stuff.  Then I could meet my sister and swim.  That would be fun!
Well, I hope you have a wonderful, joy filled day out in cyberspace today!  Lots of smiling!!!  I am smiling on this side of things.  Take care and remember I am pulling for you!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chasing the Clouds Away!

Good evening!  I am feeling some relief this evening as I have gotten through this day!  I was able to pass the teacher's critique in my illustration class of my progress so far.  That one really had me going.  I feel like I am wandering in the dark in there.  Which reminds me of a camp skit...never mind.  It is just good to be done with the preliminary stuff.  I think I can get down to the nitty gritty of the actual painting....or at least a good rough.
In art history I feel like I am Atlas, and I am trying hard not to shrug!  The reading is overwhelming....but interesting!  I like most of what we are studying, although I am admittedly impatient for Michelangelo and Leonardo to appear.  And Rococo to disappear!  Two different classes of course, but both intermingling in my mind.  I hope I can withstand the midterm!!!
This afternoon I spent with Taylor and Gabe.  We played the board game...Settlers of Cattan.  It is a fun game, and they quickly caught on.  We will have to play this more often as it really had their attention.  And I think the social interaction is especially good for Gabe, who at 7 is still learning to get along with people.  It was fun for us all.
Then we went to Carl's Jr., because they have a new one here and it has a three or four story slide.  The boys really like it there.  Admittedly we had a difficult time ordering anything vegetarian, so we settled on the grilled fish, which was pretty good.  I had sweet potato fries, rationalizing that it was a good vegetable:)  I am not being too hard on myself these days.  The stress level has been quite high for some reason, and I figure I need to treat myself well and not get too carried away with strict diet or anything else that puts any extra pressure on me.
I read about an 87 year old woman who went to college.  It was on facebook.  It was all about how she was such a good influence on the young people in her school.  It made me take a deep breath and think I can do this!  It is a hard semester in many ways.  Here is a copy of the story...very inspiring!
"An 87 Year Old College Student Named Rose
The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know.
I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.
She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”
I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.
“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.
She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…”
“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.
After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.
Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.
At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.
As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”
As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, “We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day.
You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.
We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!  There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.
If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old.
If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.
Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change.
Have no regrets.
The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”
She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.”
She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.
At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.
Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be .When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they’ll really enjoy it!
These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.
We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give."
Good story!!!   Here's the lyrics to The Rose.

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you its only seed.

It's the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dyin'
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose.

Well, I am headed for the couch!  Time to veg a little.  Then it is off to bed and another day tomorrow.  Luckily I don't have classes until Monday.  I really like that I only have classes two days a week.  Now if I could just learn everything in those two days!  Sorry I guess I am still letting off stress.  I hope things are good in cyberspace.  Take care and remember I am pulling for you!  We're all in this together!  And yes, the drums are getting louder!!  Have a lovely evening!  Melody

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Check List

Good morning!  I have my work cut out for me today.  Lots of reading and maybe a bit of drawing.  And I got a text that my grandma services are needed for a short while too.  Life is busy! And I am grateful for that...most of the time.
This morning I am reading about pop art, minimalism, post colonialism, Rococo and Watteau, and Renaissance art between 1440 and 1460.  I am not sure I will get it all read.  But I will at least read what is due by tomorrow.  And I will get my sketches done.  I did do one painting yesterday.  But it looks very bad to me.  So I may try it again if there is time.
Do I have to come up with a bit of wisdom today?  Don't procrastinate!!!  And I am following my own advice!  I'd better get going.  Have a most wonderful day in cyberspace today!!!  Melody

Monday, February 18, 2013

De-stressing...or is it distressing?

Good morning!  I have been photoshopping and sketching this morning.  I can't seem to get my head around this fairy picture I am working on.  I think I may have to treat it like an assignment rather than a creation.  Know what I mean?  I'm not sure I do:)  I suppose what I am trying to say is that sometimes I lose the will to continue with a project when I don't see it as perfectly on paper as I imagined it in my head.  And so I tend to want to start something else.  Which is what I have been doing this morning.  And it is kind of a waste of effort.  Because really nothing comes out the way I had imagined.  I have a pretty vivid imagination I guess, and my skill is not there yet.  I hope it will be someday.  But in the meantime I have to come up with stuff for class.  Here's a couple of rough ideas I have come up with so far.

I did find a piece of copper left over from my printing class.  I put gesso on it thinking that later this afternoon I will try painting on it.  I know it is kind of silly.  But I want to try it anyway...even if I fail.  I think it will be kinda fun.  And in the meantime I have to come up with some good sketches for class on Wednesday.  And read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have so much reading to do for my other classes.  I think now that it was a mistake to take three study classes.  But I can do this!!!!!  And I will.  Any moment now:)
I am still feeling that anxious overwhelmed feeling. I can't seem to shake it unless I am actively painting or drawing.  I love that I can escape for awhile when I get "in the zone".  But the rest of the time I am feeling kind of panicked:)  I think I know how to make the panic go away though.  And that is to finish my reading and start writing my papers.  I have to do two papers on comparing different works of art from the different time periods.  And I have to do a paper on post colonialism art for my seminar class.  One is due next Monday and the other two the following Monday.  So I am pretty sure I can do that.  The thing that has me really scared is mid-terms.  They are the week of March 20th.  So I do have some time yet to get organized and study hard.
Well, I guess I just needed to write things down.  I can do this!!!  It just feels like my head is scrambled eggs this morning.  I think it will help to make some better sketches.  So here I to my drawing board.  I hope you have a wonderful, stress free day.  I will work on that on this side of cyberspace.  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Good morning!  I saw this on facebook and wanted to share the joy of this little elephant.  I hope this link works.  If not it is on India.  Here's the probably have to be logged into facebook for it to work.   Baby elephant at the ocean
So....I sure use that word as a connector a lot!  And "Well..."  I must talk this way because it sounds awkward to me not to use them.  But often I go back and erase unnecessary words after I have written my blog.  It's the English major in me!
I have a choir practice today.  We sing again next week.  The song we are doing is pretty hard...."For the Beauty of the Earth" by John Rutter.  I really love it.  There is a youtube video of it.  Another link:) Beauty  I listen to it a lot as I go back and forth to school conducting the traffic as I drive:)  It is on the Consider the Lilies album of the Mormon Tabernacle choir.  I like that album a lot.
I don't have to teach Relief Society today.  Someone else taught it for me last week since we had a family missionary homecoming.  So I am off the hook for this month.  I have to teach in March though. I will read through the lesson later today.  I like to have plenty of time to prepare.  I think I teach better if it isn't a last minute thing.
I had better get on with things around here.  It is weird to be on the late schedule with church not starting until 2.  But I like not having to rush.  It makes Sunday seem more of a day of rest and worship.  I like to think and ponder and pray:)   It is a marvelous time we are living in, don't you think?  I am amazed every day by the wonders of nature and man and God!  I am grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ, and I am in awe of the majesty and power of God.  I think the scripture that expresses how I feel today is found in The Pearl of Great LDS scripture.
Moses 6:63
"And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me."
I would add my testimony and say that I also bear record of Him.  He is Jesus Christ, the Lord of Heaven and Earth!  Have a wonderful Sabbath day!!!  Melody

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Day in the Forest

Good blustery evening!  The wind has picked up outside.  But the rest of the day has been absolutely beautiful.  It was almost 60 here today.  That's got to be some kind of a record for February.  Anyway, we had to take advantage of the good weather, and I also needed forest pictures, so we packed a lunch and headed up to the mountains after we got our work done around here.  It was really fun to climb out of the valley and hang out in the forest.  I wanted to get a reference picture for a background for my little deer and fairy picture.  And surprisingly I got quite a few shots of real deer in the forest.  I guess they knew I was coming, because they really were all set to pose.

I thought we had excellent luck finding all of those deer!  There were actually only four, two in two different places.  It was fun to photograph them.  Once again I wished for a better lens.  I think I will get serious about finding one.
One of my favorite things is to drive around in the mountains.  It is almost as good as the ocean:)  At any rate we had lots of fun driving around in Garden Valley and Crouch.  My mom's cousin used to live up there, so we have lots of memories of coming up with the kids.  I wish we had a cabin up here.  Maybe someday.
Anyway, I just wanted to share the fun time we had.  I hope things are great in cyberspace today.  Take care!  Melody
P.S.  The pictures are much prettier if you click on them and get a larger view!
Garden Valley, Idaho

I liked the eagle on this house.

The river was quite beautiful with the ice.

Yep, it's Saturday!!!

Good morning!  Busy morning!  Got lots to do kinda morning!  So I'll write later....when I'm all tuckered the evening:)  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!
Me :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Luna fairy

Good evening!  I have been working on a reference photo that I can draw from and thought I would share.  I think it is kinda cool.  But on the other hand I am not sure about the composition....and have I paid too much attention to the environment and made it more important than the fairy?  Big questions:)  And no real answers.  It is all stuff I need to resolve and figure out.  But I think it is kind of fun to photoshop my way around to figure things out.  Of course the light is all wrong.  I am not good enough with photoshop to add light and shadow.  But it is still fun.  I especially like the moth wings I found to put on the otherwise kinda normal woman.
Well, I guess I will get on with my evening.  Just wanted to share a little fun.  Take care!  Melody

Yay for Friday!!!

Good morning!  It looks like a good day today!  The sky is clear and the sun is already shining.  I think the days are lengthening so that Spring can come.  I am happy for that.  I need longer days to get everything done.
Do you ever wonder about the decisions you have made?  Not the huge ones...I think I have done all right there.  But the little ones....the almost imperceptible ones....the ones that you make without even much thought, that steer your life in unknown ways.  And then much later in life you can see how they have influenced things.  Sometimes in major ways.  I was thinking of that today.  When I was at BYU I took a watercolor class.  I think I took it hoping I could discover my true talents and change my major to art.  Instead I looked around at what others were doing and realized how small my talent was.  Later I did change my major to English...mostly because it was an easy switch and I could graduate "on time".  Which was important.  I probably wouldn't have graduated if I had chosen art.  But still...I think sometimes how it might have been different.  Would it have changed my life that much?  Probably not. I was awfully busy raising kids for a really long time.  And I don't regret a minute of that.  But I still wonder about it sometimes.  Especially when I get those feelings that maybe I am just an old woman who likes to paint flowers...and kittens....and fairies:)  I guess that is all right.  But it is not really how I feel.  I want to be an old lady who paints meaning and wonder into my paintings...that inspires others to see the beauty that surrounds us.  So what is the meaning of megalomaniac?  Visions of grandeur, right?  Sorry for the megalomaniac inside of me.  She peeks out every once in a while.  I think I need to remember the words of Alma, "I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me." (Alma 29:3)  And generally I am.  But every once in a while........;)
Well, I had better get on with my day.  I have a fairy to work on:)  And laundry and dishes of course.  And maybe I will persuade Mel to leave work for lunch....that's not usually too hard!  Take care out there in cyberspace.  I am pulling for you.  Have a most wonderful day!!!  Melody
P.S.  Just saw this and thought it was interesting....asteroid

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Cupid's Day!  I am sharing this painting by JB Monge this morning because it is one of my favorites.  I love the fantasy of it!  And I am working on a similar piece myself....although not nearly as beautiful.  But I got the go ahead from my teacher yesterday so I am trying to develop it more and this piece gives me great ideas.  Now if I can just carry them forward!
I can usually draw what I want, but translating it into paint is a whole nother ball of they say.  I guess it is really a whole nother ball of plastic...since I am trying to use more acrylics.  I think on this I may use watercolors though.  I feel more competent with watercolors, and I like the transparency of them.  Especially when I use a little gauche to correct the whites:)  My favorite is oils, but I don't think I have time for that in this particular painting.
Speaking of which, I am feeling kind of stressed.  I have three papers coming due rapidly.  Luckily I have no school til next Wednesday because of the holiday, but it all goes by so quickly anymore.  And I tire easily.  And my brain just doesn't remember as easily as it used to.  Have I whined enough? Good, I'll stop now.
Yesterday in my illustration class things went well.  I passed around some comic illustrations from a friend to share with the class...and they loved them!  Even my teacher who is often skeptical of comics was pleased and went off on a tangent about how hard it is to make a living in illustration.  I think he was in a pretty good mood though, because he didn't tease me too much.  When it was my turn to share what I had done, he said, "What?  You're doing fairies?"  Then he smiled and said, "As long as you copy Brian Froud and JB Monge it is OK."  And then he went on a bit about how fantastic they both are....especially Brian Froud who happened to "like" my teacher's FB page.  I guess he really was flattered by that.  It is funny what tender egos most artists seem to have.  My teacher is a really fantastic painter.  He has such control with acrylics!   I love his work.  He is especially good at painting on different surfaces.  He brought a little piece he had done on copper that I have fallen in love with!  I want to try my hand at it, but I am sure I will stink at it.  Still, I think it would be fun to try.  I probably will get very frustrated trying, but....oh well.  It is all kind of frustrating:)  I can see that gradually I am improving though.  And I have to keep in mind that I am starting a little late at this and to be patient with myself.
Well, I have rambled quite a bit this morning.  I think I am procrastinating again.  It is that feeling of being "not good enough".  I know that is a roadblock, so I will just go around it and paint away!  I hope things are happy and well in cyberspace today!  Keep smiling!  I am pulling for you and smiling from my side!  We're all in this together!!!  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Off to see the Wizard!

Good morning!  Just a quick note before I leave to wish you a wonderful day out in cyberspace today.  And to say I think you can connect your family history fan chart somehow to Costco and get a large printout.  I don't have time to check just now....but I remember a button:)
I have sketches done and I am hoping not to be too discouraged from class!  Silly, huh?  But sometimes it is discouraging to have worked on something and then have it shot down.  Oh well.  I can do hard things!!!  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Merry Morning!

Good morning!  I have been reading my regular internet stuff this morning, and came across a new sight for Harry Anderson.  He did quite a bit of work for the LDS church that you will probably recognize if you go to this link.  Harry Anderson  I have always admired his work.
I am going to paint today.  I am kind of excited about that.  I am planning to do a fairy...I have a bunch of pictures of granddaughters.  I need to pick one to use as a reference.  It is hard to choose:)  And then I think I will use a famous artist for a reference too.  Well, I had better get hopping!  I hope things are great in your neck of the woods today!  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Monday, February 11, 2013

Having a Gut Wan!!!

Good evening!  It has been a busy day, and then we had empty nester's family night tonight.  Lots of visiting with good friends!  But I am feeling tired.  I didn't drive Kenny to the airport this morning...but I was still awake at 4 am texting him good bye.  And then I couldn't get back to sleep.  So about half way into my Renaissance class my eyes started closing on me.  I was trying so hard to stay awake and not doing a very good job!  There's a fifteen minute break between that class and my 18th century class, so I tried to keep my eyes closed for a few minutes then.  It did seem to help keep me awake for the next hour and a half.  Then I came home and worked on my scholarship submission.  I hope I have picked work good enough to be considered.  It has to have been done within the last year.  So I didn't have a whole lot to choose from.  But I got it photographed and sized correctly and on a CD.  I made the list of the digital files required.  Now I just have to put it in the manilla envelope and take it to the art department office.  I don't know why I am so nervous about this...perhaps its the anticipation of failure or something like that.  I think I have to get over that somehow.  Maybe just doing it will help.
I did get my paper turned in to my class this morning.  I was worried about that.  I still need to draw something before my illustration class on Wednesday.  I am planning to spend tomorrow on that.  Boy, I sound tired!  I think I will end this now:)  I guess I am headed for bed.  Take care!  And sleep tight!  Gute nacht!!!  Melody

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Creating Memories

Good evening!  We have had such a lovely weekend!  My dad is officially over the hill (90), and we all had a fun time pushing him over!  Here are a few photos to help you join in the fun!
Dad and Barb and Norm
I think we had 52 family members present....39 were Mel and I and our bunch of yahoos.  It was so nice that all six of our children could be there...and maybe Tommy was there in least I like to think so.  We had 25 of our 31 grandchildren there too!  It was so much fun to be together.  My dad kept saying, "One thing is clear!  We love to be together.  So let's make sure we do this again real soon!"  I agree.  It was really wonderful!!!
Then today we had a sacrament meeting where my nephew spoke for his homecoming from the Nashville, Tennessee mission.  Three of my daughters sang, and one played piano for the group.  There were four young men who sang with them from the family whose son was leaving on his mission next week.  And the work goes forward!
After that we went to my sister Diane's for a lovely brunch and spent the rest of the day visiting and enjoying the fun of family.  I sure do love mine!
So now Mel and I are home and it seems awfully quiet after a noisy weekend with so many loved ones here.  It's good school is tomorrow or I might have time to really miss them!  Of course I will still miss them, but I will have to keep busy to keep up with all of the reading I am behind in!   I have two chapters in Renaissance and one for 18th century.  I have skimmed them, so maybe it will get me through class.  But at some point I really have to study this stuff!!!
Well, I hope your Sabbath has been one of peace and rest!  I am smiling and hoping you are too on your side of cyberspace!!!  Take care and keep your stick on the ice.  We saw baby calves today!!  So cute, frolicking in the fields.  Spring is near!!!!  Yay!!!!!  Have a most wonderful evening, night, morning and afternoon!  I'm still pulling for you!!!!!  Melody

If this shirt looks familiar...Taylor said it is his favorite!

Me, Joy, Dad, Diane

Me, Joy, Dad, Diane and Norm

Spouses Added

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Anticipating a Fun Celebratory Day!

Good morning!  I think I am in heaven:)  Kenny is at the piano, playing and singing his latest musical inventions.  I really think he is a genius with music!  It is so fun to have him here for a couple of days.  He will be flying back on Monday morning.  So I am trying to spend every minute with him while he is here.
Which does present some staying up until one something this morning!  I am not young!!!  And not getting homework finished.  I did read a while this morning, but I still have a paper to write before Monday morning!  Sigh!  The reading was pretty clear though, and the paper is more of journaling what it contains.  And it only has to be a half a page or so.  I should not have any trouble getting it done....just fishing for sympathy!
We had fun last night!  Before Kenny got here, my siblings and Dad and Barb all went out for dinner at a place called Fork.  Frankly I had a hard time finding plant based food and settled on raviolis....which were good.  No meat, but lots of cheese:)  I don't want to blow it though, because my weight has started inching down again.  I wouldn't worry except for these knees.
Then we visited til it was time to meet Kenny at the airport.  Kim and Sean came and we all went to Denny's for dessert:)  I got a scoop of chocolate ice cream.  It doesn't sound good, huh?  Anyway we stayed up waaaay too late.  There were some really cool old posters that I took a few photos of...Belgium travel posters mostly.


Today is the day of the big celebration at Cottonwood Grill.  I will take pictures!  But I'd better get hopping!  I hope you have a most wonderful day today out in cyberspace!  Take care and smile lots!  And HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Friday, February 8, 2013

Keepin' On!

Good morning!  Things are already hopping around here.  I am excited for Kenny to arrive late tonight, but it's not enough time to make the house spotless.  I suppose I will have to settle for semi-spotless.  I did take Liz's boys for haircuts yesterday.  They were both soooooo funny!  They had a little bit of time to wait before the gal was ready for them.  So they started looking through the books of hairstyles.  Gabe wanted liberty spikes, but I persuaded him that his hair wasn't long enough for spikes.  Taylor wanted to look like Justin Bieber!  Funny kid!  They had fun looking through the pictures of teen idols with different haircuts.  But when it actually came time for them to get their haircut, the barber gave them pretty normal haircuts.  See?
Taylor looks pretty tired in these photos.  I think he is growing like a little weed at present.  I love that he is getting freckles and I told him so.  He doesn't like them though.  I can remember feeling that way.
Gabe is funny right now...full of misinformed facts and odd filters.  I think his hairdresser got quite an ear full!  I am a little concerned about him these days.  I think I need to spend more time with him.  He needs more hugs!
Today I am going with Mel to meet with the accountant.  Then I am going over to the school to take some better pictures of a few paintings I am going to submit for a scholarship.  They have a cool set up just for that.   I haven't ever done this before, so I am a little nervous.  But they have a lot of money that they pass out and I could use it next semester I think.  The policy is changing for senior citizens....instead of paying little and being first in line for registration, they are putting us dead last, when the classes are mostly filled.  So I may have to pay a full tuition to get the classes I need to graduate.  Anyway, I figured it wouldn't hurt to try for a scholarship.  They can only say yes or no.
Or maybe you're too old!  We'll see!

I read an interesting post on Muddy Colors this morning.  All about artistic discouragement...which is something I fight I think.  I know what I want to do, but it doesn't really fit with the curriculum at BSU to draw spiritual paintings fit for the temple.  And the kind of children's books I want to illustrate are of a more personal nature.  So I feel like I am compromising just a bit, and it doesn't feel too good.  I think that is one reason that I want to graduate soon.   But it worries me that my learning will stop there.  I don't want it to.  So I guess I will start looking for online classes or something.  I know that Jodell's brother Leon teaches an online drawing class through BYU Idaho.  And there is another artist that is LDS that teaches for a San Francisco art school online that is into realism.  If I can stay motivated I could just keep practicing.  But unless I am forced into it I am afraid I will get lazy.  Oh well, first I must finish reading for my art history classes on Monday!  First things first and all of that.
Well, I guess I had better get on with things.  I am meeting my brother and his wife and my dad and Barb and all of the rest of the family in town later today.  It should be fun!  Take care out there in cyberspace!!!  I am still pulling for you!  Keep your stick on the ice!  It snowed overnight here.    It is really quite beautiful!  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Too much to do!!!

Good morning!  I have so much to do....and I am procrastinating.   Sigh! I am going to tackle a few sketches today though.  I have actually done a couple, but I can't seem to draw this morning.  Maybe breakfast would help.  I really think the problem is that I am feeling overwhelmed by all that I have to accomplish today.  So....I will make a list and prioritize things.
The most important thing about today is that it is my dad's 90th birthday.  I would go over, but he tends to sleep in....usually til about noon!  So I will probably go over this afternoon.
In the meantime, I need to read a couple of chapters for art history and an article for my seminar.  And do a fair amount of sketching.  And the dishes and laundry are always present it seems.  Sorry, this can't be too interesting.
So, in the line of interesting....I like to listen to the Mormon channel as I travel back and forth to school...I think I have mentioned that I can listen to conference.  Anyway, I had done that, and thought that I had turned off my iphone as I was going into class.  Then someone sitting next to me in class said, "Your purse is talking!"  And sure enough it was!  I pulled out my iphone as one of the speakers was saying something like, "And the most important thing is your testimony of the living Savior, Jesus Christ."  How's that for bearing testimony to the world?  It's no wonder that I have a reputation in the art department...not a bad one.  But I am pretty sure everyone knows I believe in Jesus Christ.  Which is a good thing.  I had a friend ask once, "If they were killing all of the Christians, would they know you were one?"  Sort of a scary question, but something to think about.  How did I get on this subject?
Well, I guess I will stop putting off my day.  I hope this day finds you well and happy and laughing a lot!  I know I am laughing!  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Rococo...sounds a lot like cocoa! Mmmmmm!

Wow!  Another day almost gone!  But it has been a good one.  I got my contract for illustration approved (Yay!) so now I get to start drawing elves and fairies!  I am not kidding!  I also get to work on a gold bug painting that I am very excited about, and a computerized painting for the last one.  So I think I am going to really like this semester in illustration.  Of course, now I have to actually do the work.  And that takes tons of discipline right now.  There is a lot going on in my immediate my dad's 90th birthday!  That is tomorrow!!!  We are having a celebration on Saturday, so Kenny is flying in...and my brother Norm and his wife Cindy.  It should be lots of fun.  But also some work involved, so I am hoping to get lots done in the way of drawing tomorrow and Friday during the day.  I have something in mind, so I need to sketch it and hope it works.  I am thinking of using my photo of Alex running around with the Christmas ornament as a reference.  We shall see.  I am planning on using work by Jean Baptiste Monge
Jean Baptiste Monge
and Brian Froud
Brian Froud

as reference also.  It is nice to feel like I am back to drawing and painting again.  I haven't stopped sketching, but I like really getting into that zone where I can shut the world out.  It happens only when I am really concentrating on things.  And lately I have felt so distracted with a lot of busy cluttery kinds of why Rococo was ever popular!  I think I would have preferred Chardin to Boucher!
But it's all interesting.  I am learning tons!
Chardin Still Life
I just got back from Costco, so we have food in the house again.  I didn't buy meat or milk....sort of weird.  But I found lots of good veggies and fruits and veggie burgers and meatless chicken:)  It sort of makes me laugh.  But I do feel healthier.  I think my body is adjusting to the change now though, because I am not losing weight very quickly anymore...oh well, I will keep at it until I find a reason not a chocolate bar!  I did eat one the other day!  It tasted wonderful, but....I do need to be careful!
Well, I just wanted to fill you in on all of the marvelous stuff I am learning!  I am liking life a lot right now....well, most of it.   Life is never perfect.  But it is nice.  Take care out there in cyberspace!  I am still pulling for you!!!  We're all in this together!!!  Have a most wonderful evening!  Melody

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Good Morning!  I can only say that for 15 more minutes.  Where does the time go?  I have read my Diderot essay for 18th Century art history.  It is interesting. He is one of the first art critics.  It was written in 1763 about the Salon in Paris...a forerunner of the Louvre.  I think his morals were in the right place, even if I don't agree with all of his criticisms.  It is quite interesting to me to study about the changes in art and why they came about.  It was not always for sinister reasons.  Sometimes it had more to do with the size of the wall the picture was to hang upon:)
Aside from this article I have another one about this time period that is very lengthy and another chapter to read.  I don't know how I will remember any of this.  But I am taking notes and making flashcards.  I hope it helps!  In the meantime I am stewing about this contract for my illustration class that is due tomorrow.  I really feel frustrated.  I think it stems from my real inability to know what I need to work on to improve my illustration skills.  I would like to spend my time imitating those artists that I really admire.  We shall see.  I emailed my teacher for help, but I kind of doubt he will respond.  He is busy, and I think he gets a little annoyed with all of my questions.  My main question is what he means by a character it like what one would do for a large painting?  He is not specific enough for me.
Right now I am in Mel's shop...waiting:)  He is finishing up a project on the Maho...a very large machine that does stuff I don't really understand....electrical discharge that cuts into steel parts to make little teeney holes....or larger ones.  It is always amazing to me that he knows how to do this stuff.  I am glad he does.  I could not learn it as I have no patience with it...and it kind of scares me.  But I like seeing the finished products.  His company is currently making a lot of plumbing parts, some prosthetic limb parts, bullet parts for powder type rifles, computer tray parts, and a few other little things.  Business is good, but very busy.  So that is why I am waiting.  I am taking him to lunch for a break from all of this.  I worry about his stress levels. 
Well, that's all they say.  I hope all is well in cyberspace today. I'm still pulling for you!  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Monday, February 4, 2013

Uncovering Names

Good evening!  It has been a long day today.  Mondays I have constant classes from 9 to 3, with only a 15 minute break.  So it is a tiring day.  But I got through it.  And I was able to visit with Kim and Liz too afterwards.  Then Mel and I had some dinner and watched an episode of Foyle's War on Netflix.  I guess we had our FHE yesterday as we both spent quite a bit of time on the Family Tree site on family  There are videos you can watch to learn how to do things.  You can create a "fan" chart of nine generations!  It is kind of cool.  And it is easy to see what family lines you have to work on.  Here is a link to the site if you want to create your own.  I was going to put an image of mine up but it won't let me.  This link will get you started.  There is a link on the top right to go to the part with the family tree.  It must be very busy right now because I can't get there from here:)  It is a lot of fun searching for ancestors.  In my lines I have so many names!  Lamb, Riding, Crane, Duffin,  Hardy,  Tippett, Pollard and Neary, just to name a few.  I have a line that goes through Brigham Young Lamb to Elizabeth, Princess of England, who was the daughter of Henry IV, a Plantagenet king.  They spoke French!  There was some news today about one of those kings.  Apparently the Tudors spread terrible propaganda about him that Shakespeare used in a play with his name, but his name has been cleared.  I guess he was a good king after all. Richard III.  Here's a link to the story. King 
I enjoy researching, especially when I find out stories about their lives.  My great great grandmother Syphus came from England on a boat that got lost at sea.  Instead of a few weeks, it took a month or more.  They ran out of food and so they had to eat stale sea biscuits.  They were so hard that they had to be divided with an ax.  And they were full of worms.  My grandma had a baby that died and was buried at sea.  They made great sacrifices to come to America.  I am grateful!
Well, I guess it is getting late.  I am soooo ready for bed!  I hope things are well and wonderful in cyberspace tonight!  Sweet Dreams!  Melody