Hard to believe she would have been 12… a painting and a memory…

Streamers After by Tollef Runquist / Image: Dowling Walsh

This painting is special to us. It isn’t ours, it’s for sale at the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, Maine.  Today is a special day… Isabelle would have been 12… hard to imagine. This painting is what Fred and I both imagine Isabelle would have been like if everything went OK. Unfortunately, things with the pregnancy didn’t go well… You have to figure that things work out for a reason, although it’s hard to understand “why” at that moment…  We’re so fortunate to have each other and for that we are extremely thankful!

This painting is so happy and bright. Just like a little girl after her birthday party. See how paintings can evoke memories? Every painting that we have has a great memory attached to it. Hope yours do too!

Happy 12 years Isabelle… We love you…

Featured Artist… Brian Blood!

Fishing Boat, Monterey by artist Brian Blood

Brian Blood is a fabulous artist, no question about it. But this little number caught my eye in the biggest way… (Thank you Bridget for forwarding me that email!). I love everything about this painting. The water… perfect! The pop of orange, and all that detail without anything being too specific. Absolute perfection!

Many of you have probably seen Brian’s work in magazines… if you’re fortunate enough to be near a gallery (click here for list) stop in and say hello, otherwise he has a wonderful website! Brian teaches workshops, which I would assume would fill up rather quickly, he also gives a demo workshop… now THAT is something I would be interested in… I learn by watching… and yes, it does help if you actually pick up a paintbrush… sigh…

Here’s a blip about Brian from his website:

Brian Blood, a resident of Pebble Beach, California, is widely recognized as one of California’s most important plein air impressionist artists. Married to award winning artist, Laurie Kersey,  www.lauriekersey.com they live their childhood dreams.

He began his professional life as a graphic artist and art director in Boston, Massachusetts.  Although Blood’s career was successful, he was frustrated personally and realized he wanted to be a fine-art painter. A leap across the continent to California took him to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for both undergraduate and graduate studies.  Blood and Kersey were both later instructors at the Academy of Art University for 12 years.
From the 1990s, Brian Blood has been painting full time as well as conducting landscape painting classes at his alma mater.  He also conducts ongoing workshops in his studio, and surrounding areas of Pebble Beach, California.

Primarily a plein-air painter, Blood creates hundreds of studies directly from nature, observing the ever changing light of day.  He then takes his studies and supporting reference photos back to one of his two studios, either in San Francisco or Pacific Grove, to paint. He uses these studies as the basis for his larger scale works.

Blood has had his work featured in articles in Southwest Art Magazine (May 2002, and March 2005); Art of The West Magazine (March/April 2004); American Artist Magazine (January 2004); Plein Air Magazine (December 2005); and The Central Coast Journal (October 2005); to name a few. 

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Ahhh, the history of leap year… explained here!

Haven’t you wondered what leap year was all about? I never really thought much about it, but I can say I’m a better person for having read this… after you read it you will be fully informed and will never have to wonder again!

Found this great info from Inventor.About.com (click HERE to see the full page)
Leap years are years with 366 days, instead of the usual 365. Leap years are necessary because the actual length of a year is 365.242 days, not 365 days, as commonly stated. Basically, leap years occur every 4 years, and years that are evenly divisible by 4 (2004, for example) have 366 days. This extra day is added to the calendar on February 29th.

However, there is one exception to the leap year rule involving century years, like the year 1900. Since the year is slightly less than 365.25 days long, adding an extra day every 4 years results in about 3 extra days being added over a period of 400 years. For this reason, only 1 out of every 4 century years is considered as a leap year. Century years are only considered as leap years if they are evenly divisible by 400. Therefore, 1700, 1800, 1900 were not leap years, and 2100 will not be a leap year. But 1600 and 2000 were leap years, because those year numbers are evenly divisible by 400.

 Julius Caesar, Father of Leap Year… read more HERE

So now you know! Catch you back here tomorrow!

[Image: ThemesBank]

Coconut Oil… what’s looking to be a very healthy oil that doesn’t get stored in the body as fat!

Image: Amazon

Coconut Oil… have you heard the rave reviews about all the wonderful things it can do? From what I’ve read this past weekend it can aid in losing weight, help prevent or even help those with Alzheimer’s, moisturize skin and hair, increase HDL (good cholesterol), decrease LDL (bad cholesterol), decrease triglycerides, the list goes on and on. We’ll have to wait for long term studies, but for me, I’m jumping on the bandwagon, and taking 1 tablespoon a day. It can’t hurt. Let me know if you’ve tried it. WHY are YOU taking it?  HOW are you taking it? I tried eating it off the spoon (it’s like lard), that was a little difficult, so I heat it ever so slightly and swallow… a tablespoon is doable, I personally chase it with a Triple Ginger Cookie from Trader Joe’s 🙂 some people but it on toast, in coffee, in oatmeal, in smoothie’s, use it as oil and topping when making popcorn… AND the reason I bumped into the health benefits about coconut oil was because I saw a recipe for Double Coconut Muffins on the Smittin Kitchen website… whoa, they sounded good, and I had just spoken to my mom who told me about a video that someone just told her about (click HERE to see it) about how it’s helping Alzheimer’s Disease, and also helping to prevent. I’m sure long term studies are a ways off, but if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s you know how devastating it can be. I vowed to try this, it’s worth it to me… so now, I think everyone I know is taking this for one reason or another. I just didn’t want you to be left out of the loop!

Google Coconut Oil  and you will see so much information it will make your head spin. Try to read from reputable sources and realize that anyone can post anything to the Internet… From what I’ve read, you should buy VIRGIN coconut oil. Ideally Organic virgin (or extra virgin) coconut oil. UNREFINED, since they alter the makeup of the oil when it’s refined. Refined is good for using as a moisturizer for skin and hair. One more thing… you can often find it in the grocery store in the baking aisle, however, often times these are NOT the virgin organic varieties… those are mostly found in the health aisle… ask if you are unsure. Read HERE the Health Benefits of Coconut Oil by Charles Mattock, I got this from Dr. Oz’s website

Here is a blip from Nutiva (extracted from Amazon):

A deliciously healthy cooking oil. Better than butter. USDA organic. Unrefined & no trans fats. Rich in lauric acid. A soothing body oil. The coconut oil myth. Coconut oil has been mistakenly described as not healthy. The fact is, coconut oil is cholesterol-free and rich in medium-chain good fats that doctors recommend. Why is it that baby formulas often include coconut oil? Because coconut is one of the world’s most nourishing super foods. Nutritionists suggest enjoying up to 3 tbsp of extra-virgin coconut oil each day, so help yourself to this heavenly, creamy taste of the tropics. Nutiva’s cold-pressed Coconut Oil is: Extra-virgin & pure white: not refined, deodorized or bleached! Organic: so it’s free from pesticides, GMOs and hexane. Versatile: Ideal as high-heat cooking oil (up to 350 degrees), as a nutritious substitute in baking, a better-than-butter replacement on bread, vegetables or popcorn, and as a luscious oil for skin care, hair care, and massage. America needs an oil change. While doctors suggest we consume a 4:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3, the average American diet provides a ratio of 20:1 or more – contributing to heart disease, skin disorders, and arterial inflammation. So avoid out of balance soy, corn, and canola oils with their trans fats, oxidation, and GMOs. Cook with coconut oil (with only 1% Omega-6), and use olive oil (also low in Omega-6), and hemp oil (with the perfect 3:1 Omega ratio) for unheated recipes. Nature’s ideal all-purpose cooking oil. No trans or hydrogenated fat; no cholesterol or hexane. Unlike other brands, we press our coconuts within 2 hours of chopping. No refrigeration required. Solid at room temperature and melts at 76 degrees. Any coconut husk fibers at the bottom of the jar are indigenous to the processing and harmless. Coconut oil contains medium-chain good fats with 50-55% lauric acid – a healthful nutrient that supports the metabolism. Certified organic by QAI. Product of the Philippines.

A disclaimer… I in no way am trying to provide medical advice, only passing along what many others have told me. Ask your doctor if you need to know if this is OK for you…

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Betty Anglin Smith “On a Limb” show March 2-16, 2012…

Old Oak by Betty Anglin Smith

Just a reminder to mark it on your calendar… March 2-16, 2012 artist Betty Anglin Smith’s new show opens. Entitled ON A LIMB, this show features exhilarating new work. If you’re in the Charleston, SC area the opening reception is March 2, 2012, from 5-8PM.

From a postcard from Smith Killian Gallery:

Every now and then a seasoned artist needs to reach and stretch and push their work to a new level. It is the exhilaration of going “out on a limb”.

                                                          -Betty Anglin Smith

PS/ a reminder… Colin Page has an upcoming workshop in Charleston, SC through the Smith Killian Gallery… Click HERE to read more about it… or call the gallery.. Catch you back here tomorrow!

Does it feel like spring where you’re at?? This weather is heaven!

This has been the craziest winter that I can ever remember in all my life. I grew up in Michigan, where (at least in my memories) it snowed in the winter, and snow pretty much stayed around until spring. Now it comes and goes, and this year??? Lots of places are without their regular amounts of snow. Wonder why the big change all of a sudden? Here in Charleston, SC it was downright freezing last winter (well, to our standards it was freezing)… this year it’s been so nice. Lots of days in 60’s and 70’s. A few in the 80’s! We slept with the windows open recently… I love that! I’m wondering what that means come summer? It certainly can’t be any warmer than it normally is here in Charleston! Heat index in the 120’s. It’s barely tolerable, and makes me want to pack and move to the Antarctic! We were talking to a woman in a store yesterday, she said many customers were telling her that if we have a warm winter that means our summer will be cooler… OH YAY! HAS ANYONE ELSE HEARD THAT? Personally I don’t think there is any science behind it… it’ll be what it’ll be and we’ll just have to go with it… Dump a few bags of ice in the pool and move on, ha ha… Hope the weather is lovely where you are!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Fenwick Hall, a gorgeous plantation in Charleston, a plantation with a history!

Fenwick Hall, a gorgeous plantation that is also referred to as a castle. We drove by this the other day on the way to daycare for Charlie (woof)…

A pretty impressive place, wouldn’t you say? This is a true southern plantation… look at those beautiful old live oak trees, they’re so graceful and stately. I ran across the most interesting website about this wonderful place called FENWICK HALL… It’s been around since approximately 1730. It has wonderful stories! Hidden tunnels, secret rooms, ghosts, you name it! Read about the history on the website… it’s fascinating to say the least. What I’ve heard about this place was that it used to be a drug and alcohol treatment center for the wealthy. When reading the history it looks like that began in the 1980’s, the  history is a must read!

This is now a private residence, and the writer of the Fenwick Hall Plantation website cautions you not to trespass, because the owners will prosecute. So warning warning… unless you’re looking to visit the big house (and I don’t mean Fenwick) some time soon? Hee.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Happy President’s Day… I will leave you with an abstract presidential portrait by artist Robert Joyner…

Portrait of George Washington by artist Robert Joyner

Robert Joyner is painting a few of our presidents and they are outstanding. So far (that I’ve seen), Washington, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt… I love the wild way he portrays each one. You can tell who they are, but it’s that cool abstract version that makes it so interesting. I will feature Robert again at a later date, closer to the Kentucky Derby… he is the official 2012 Kentucky Derby artist. Check out Robert’s website… it’s a good one!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Charlie (Jack Russell Terrier) visits Shem Creek Park in Mount Pleasant, SC

Charlie loves to go for a visit to Shem Creek Park in Mt. Pleasant, SC. It’s a nice long dock/walkway with plenty to see and smell… a great place to go to watch the boats, people fishing or just to enjoy a beautiful sunset. If you haven’t made your way there yet, it’s worth it! Near Shem Creek (Mount Pleasant Seafood, etc.) you can’t miss it!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured artist… Jose de Juan!

Le Chat s’amuse” by artist Jose De Juan / Image(s): JoseDeJuan.com

Don’t you just love this painting? I do! It has all the detail without being tight… I’m not sure how that happens, but it makes a painting spectacular, don’t you think? I love this style home, one of my favorites!

Great job with the shadow and the light… Check out the rest of Jose’s work, it’s fabulous!

Here’s a blip about Jose from his website (great website by the way!):

Jose De Juan - Biography

Jose L. De Juan  graduated from the Madrid Art Academy in his native Spain. He is a veteran of the film industry and has worked in several studios as a computer lighter. His passion has always been painting. Watercolors, oils , computer or any other medium, it’s all part of a desire to give visual shape to the moment.  

Jose is a devoted plein-air artist and finds constant inspiration in the city and its surroundings, from freeways and dilapidated structures to the canyons and marinas. He likes to plant the easel and look around for any subjects surprised by light and weather.  Jose strives to show respect for the materials,  honesty of rendition and a representational approach. Jose hopes his work finds an echo in the viewer’s luminosity within.    

He is an artist member of the  California Art Club , the Pasadena Society of Artists and the National Watercolor Association .  He has enjoyed the inspiration of  masters like  Jennifer Mc Christian, Peter Andrews, Sheri McGraw , Tony Pro,  Clayton Beck III and many others either in workshops or simple admiration.  Jose has  exhibited widely around Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley. 

Catch you back here tomorrow!