Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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So about that spunky little bird

A few of you are wondering, still, what the story is about that spunky little bird you saw in a previous post.

He was a quick little painting to do, all wet paint on wet paint running together. I really liked him, and didn’t mail him off right away, though I did post him on Facebook saying something like “I think he’s ready to fly.” He got a lot of comments, naturally, as he is very very cute.

I considered keeping him, he made me smile so much, but he was created to fly off to a forever home so eventually I scrolled through my address book and chose a place for him to land.

His new mom is a member of my Truck Safety family. Her son and her ex-husband were killed when the car they were in was rear ended by a semi a few years ago. She’s using her unrelenting grief to work with the Truck Safety Coalition as we try to make safety a priority.

I thought of her because she’s spunky too. She’s not a very big person, but she’s so strong and eloquent and unafraid to make waves. She’s just the kind of spark we need and I so appreciate her.

So I wrote a note on the back of the painting saying he reminded me of her and mailed him off. A few days later I received a Facebook message from her, thanking me for the gift of her little bird and telling me this story:

She noticed ‘her’ bird on my Facebook post, and said, aloud, “Oh I want you little bird,” but she didn’t comment on the post. She figured I had made him for someone, and had already decided where he was going.

But she connected with him.

So she squealed when she opened the unexpected envelope and the little bird hopped out. Her husband wanted to know what was up…and she told him I had sent her the bird she’d wanted. He figured she had asked me if she could have him. But she hadn’t.

No, she never commented on him at all, I randomly picked her name out of all the names in my address book. I think this little bird was destined to find his forever home with this mom. I think he was meant to help her her with her unbearable sadness.

And I don’t believe it was a coincidence.

Do you?


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Painting smiles, one day at a time.

I started making little paintings when the Covid craziness started, back in the middle of March. Originally I thought I was going to send a card to someone each day, in the hopes that it would make them smile amidst what felt like panic and fear. Then I realized I’d have to go to a store to buy cards. And they were expensive.

Nature in all it’s colorful forms

I don’t exactly remember the first time I googled ‘easy water color pictures,’ but there were a bunch of ideas. I started saving ideas into a folder, not anything specific for people, just little things I thought I could replicate. And I had some old, dried up watercolors on a pallet from years ago…and some paper somewhere in a bin in the basement.

So what the heck, I hand cut some rectangles the size that would fit into a small envelope and started out. I’d paint something and if it wasn’t too awful I think about who in my address book might like it. And then I’d send it off.

One a day, a little bit of a smile, sent through the post office, to someone who might be surprised and happy to get mail that wasn’t advertising or a bill.

A rustic little scene of a friend’s favorite beach in Maine.

Eventually I started looking for specific things for people I knew. A crane for someone who always has a family of cranes she watches each year. Musical instruments for musicians I know. A black cat for a friend that has three of them at home. Another black kitty for someone who’s black furbaby just died.

This little goldfinch just popped off the page and definitely made me smile.

I started watching youtube tutorials and trying to recreate the fun things I saw there. A lot of that is abstract, filled with doodles and color. Those are so fun, but harder to place in good homes.

I’m still doing this, though now I don’t mail one every day. It’s taking me longer to get them done, some of them are getting more complicated and have required more than one attempt.

Different kinds of art, something for everyone.

I haven’t shown you the failures yet.

Still, I’m plugging along. I posted on Facebook a week or more ago that I had completed a few, and now I have a list of people hoping to find smiles in their mailboxes someday. I’m working through the list…but I’m also just doing stuff for fun.

Remind me to tell you the story of this little bird.

My biggest challenges are those for people where I have a specific idea and I’m having trouble executing what’s in my head. Some of you may fall in this category. At this stage if you haven’t seen a smile it’s because I’m stuck on something that isn’t working and I’m still trying to figure it out.

Sometimes I get in my own way, you know?

These went to family in Norway, representing things we saw on our visit last year.

And, of course, if I don’t have your address, well, it’s hard to mail you a smile. I just sent some to our family in Norway, and I have one ready to go to Canada, but I’m not showing you that one because it hasn’t left yet and I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.

These were all so fun to do!

Anyway, this is a rambling post just to share with you all the fun stuff I’ve been doing. The pictures in this post are the latest pieces, done since my last post about all of this. I’ve sent 80 so far, but I’m definitely slowing down.

Guess this was my purple and blue period.

If you’ve received one of my smiles I hope it worked and you’re smiling still. If you haven’t, and you would like to, well, message me on FB or email me, and I’ll add you to the list.

Be patient though…you just never know when a smile will strike!

An osprey a day…no wait, that’s not how it goes…


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Still mailing those smiles

It seems like I just wrote about the little water color paintings I’ve been doing and sending off each day. But when I look back I see it’s been a month, and in a month there’s been about 30 more little paintings.

Do you want to see some of them? I’ll be honest, I like looking at them, and sometimes it’s hard to mail them away.

But I hear back from most people that receive them, and so far the notes and paintings seem to be doing the job they were sent to do. They are making people smile.

Not every painting has been a success. There have been several failures, though sometimes I look at one of those and think maybe I can salvage it.

I think that especially on Sunday nights when I don’t have anything to mail on Monday. So far I haven’t missed a day and I don’t want to break my streak.

I’ve started doing something specific for people’s birthdays. I’ve even sent a few sympathy cards made from one of my paintings.

I have a few more ideas, but the momentum is slowing down. I planned on continuing this until life gets back to normal, but the reality is that normal is an unknown thing now and may always be.

In fact we may lose our entire summer to this stay at home order here in Michigan. Certainly there will be restrictions for the foreseeable future.

So maybe I’ll continue painting these. If you haven’t received one, please don’t be sad. It’s probably because I don’t have a mailing address for you. You’re welcome to send me an address and I’ll see what I can come up with!


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It’s not about the art

Once a month a group of ladies (and sometimes men) get together and create a page in their art journals. The session is taught by Kim, a local artist, who plans the activity to help us learn different techniques while expressing a bit of who we are.

Kim’s work is beautiful, our work is stress relieving, peaceful, fun and not meant to be great art.

Started out with graduated colors to build a landscape background.

In fact the evenings aren’t about the art at all. Instead they provide camaraderie, funny stories, lots of laughs and usually cookies.

Last night we all worked on Kim’s vision of combining acrylic paint techniques with primitive dolls with a bit of ourselves.

Then we chalked in the image.

The dolls represented a bit of who we are, or were as kids or always wanted to be. The hair might be the way you wished yours was, the head might be your favorite pet, the colors muted or bright depending on your whim.

Then we blacked out everything but the image.

The final clue about who you are would be something put in the center of the dolls petticoat…but we ran out of time to do that last little bit. I’m thinking about putting musical notes on mine…or maybe just a Treble-clef.

Then we used pinstriping tape (from an auto parts store) to add stripes to her overcoat.

We’ll see if I get around to doing that. Even if I don’t, it was a really fun evening…and I got to play around with acrylic paints, so double fun.

Painted her coat red, then pulled up the tape.

What do you do to treat yourself once in awhile? You can’t beat sitting down with some paint and a bunch of laughing women.

Everybody’s lady is different. Just like we are.

Even if you don’t produce great art.

Having fun on a star filled evening with my primitive lady.


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Looking for a different shade

So many choices.

We’ve decided to have the inside of our house painted. All of it. For the past decade (or two) we have been living with primer white because we can’t agree on a color.

I actually like white. We have a lot of very nice woodwork and with white walls the trim is the feature. On the other hand….white? Just white? Everywhere?

But color can be so scary.

I still want the trim to be the feature and everything I read says if you want to feature woodwork you should choose a color either a lot lighter or a lot darker than the wood. I know for sure I don’t want the paint to be really dark, so now I’m looking for the right shade of, well, white.

Did you know there are hundreds of whites?

So far I’ve narrowed it down to two options and frankly as I was painting each on a paper plate there doesn’t seem to be much difference between them. After I painted one coat of each I stood and stared down at the two plates. For a long time–until I realized I was literally watching paint dry.

There’s a difference between them. I think.

Then I came up out of the basement to discuss it with you. What do you think? Should I push myself out of my comfort zone and try something a little more daring than a shade of white? We already have green carpet and a beautiful multi colored stacked stone fireplace.

Grey beige or tan beige?

I don’t know if I can get too crazy.

And I haven’t even started to figure out the bedrooms, where, I think, we can do something besides off white.

Maybe.

You should just pick the one that matches me mama!