Friday, November 23, 2018

The Alien Christmas Lady

This year's dress form Christmas tree took a different direction than the last few years.  Usually I use greens to dress her up, but this year I decided to just make her a dress with a Christmas/winter theme, using table cloths, scrap fabric, batting, ribbon and lights.  I'll probably go back to greens next year but it will be nice not having to clean up pine needles when I take her all apart.  She's rather messy looking, but when the room is dark and the colored lights are lit she looks more like a Christmas tree than previous years with the big white bulbs.  Here are the past 2 years.

 This was her autumn costume the first year I got her.
I need to dress her up more often because it's fun.  I don't know if James likes having her in the piano room or not.  When I get up in the morning I say, "good morning Christmas lady".  It takes some getting used to, having her be right there when we walk out of our bedroom in the morning.  I think her hood makes her look like an alien.  I didn't do that on purpose.  I can't decide if she's done or not. I guess I have another month to make changes if I get inspired.

Sunday, August 19, 2018


Raisa had another bull calf on Wednesday, August 15th, 2 days before her due date.  Usually she has her baby right on her due date.  I was hoping the early delivery date meant this time might be different and she'd have a girl.  I was out of town at a painting workshop so James was there to see him all wet and brand new Wednesday morning.  I'm calling him Rory, thanks to the suggestion of my sister-in-law, Mary.  He's a cutie but Raisa hasn't let me spend much time with him since I got home.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Garden Gate Gown

The old gate I built out of wood many years ago rotted so it was time for a new one, this time out
of steel, copper and aluminum.  It's way heavier than the wooden one.  I think I overbuilt it.  It still needs some additions, like a gate latch and maybe something to go on either side of the bodice. I just haven't figured out what I'd like to go there so we hung it and I'll wait for inspiration.  I will color the copper blue over the next few days, like you see at the base of the bodice.
The top is copper tubing and roofing copper.
The bottom is made from rebar, bed springs and aluminum screening.  We'll see how the screening holds up over the years.    I used it because it made the bottom of the gown look more fabric-y.
Why the gown?  I don't really know.  I must have been in a dress phase at the time and James approved (he's the gardener and looks at and uses the gate way more than I).

The hanger is rebar and the outside frame is one inch angle iron, which is why it's so heavy, and perhaps wasn't the best idea, weight-wise.  Also, when bending the top arch I had to notch one side, heat it and then re-weld the notches.

Hopefully when the steel rusts and the copper is blue it will pop out more and look prettier. 

Saturday, March 3, 2018


I had a nice surprise waiting for me this morning.  Pessa gave birth to a sturdy, beautiful little girl.  I hadn't expected babies this year because Pessa and Luti are getting pretty old and neither showed any signs of pregnancy, even though we keep a buck, Dagwood, with them.  Two days ago I thought Pessa's backside looked a tiny bit swollen and then yesterday I thought her udder might be getting a bit bigger.  I was sure it was wishful thinking, because lately I've been envious of all the cute baby goat pictures I've been seeing on Facebook.  This was a very nice present, a single girl. I decided to call her Breezy, since we've been getting some serious winds the past 2 days.

 I'm kind of surprised by her light color because her mom and dad are brown and black with some white and her grandfather was almost all black and grandmother was brown like Pessa.  I've always loved light colored goats.  I'm sure she'll darken as she gets older.  This is her handsome dad, Dagwood.
She's very laid back and friendly so far.  Right away she wanted to be held.  She's not shy.  She took a nap in my arms for 15 minutes and then I had to put her down because she's so heavy for a newborn.  

It's still breezy here today but nothing like yesterday's winds that blew up some of the roofing on our garage and uprooted a big pine tree.  We're lucky we didn't get the snow like some of my family got in PA.  It was 50 degrees here but felt more like 30.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Bowman Women; A Work In Progress

I thought I was going to wait till this was done to post a picture of it, but I'm beginning to think I'll
never get it quite right.  This is the first time I've attempted to paint 4 faces that I know really well all on one canvas.  One moment 3 of us look pretty close, then a day later I've screwed someone up and like a different face.  It's still stiffer than I'd like it.  I'm afraid I'm going to mess with it to loosen it up and ruin the things I like about it.
It began as a black and white, but it slowly progressed to a sepia toned painting, then it begged for color.
 Debbie lost her right eye more than once.  Sorry Deb.

My apologies to my sisters and Mom for any strokes that offend you.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017

Another Halloween done, and it was a good one.  For the past 3 or 4 years we've been invited to a Halloween party to help give out candy to and watch 600 to 700 kids trick or treating in Lexington. It's a good excuse for us mature (better than saying old) people to get together,  wear costumes, eat, drink and be merry.

The thing I like most about being invited to this party is coming up with costumes, though, I'll admit, I find it a bit challenging and make a bigger deal out of it than I probably should.  I don't want to have the lamest costumes.  It's also great fun hanging out with friends and seeing the kids all dressed up and watching them look at us and all the decorations.  Some kids seem scared and some fascinated.

This year James and I were Van Gogh and his self-portrait.
 By the time I took these last two pictures, James (or, my portrait) had worn off his beard.  It could have been from eating all the tasty snacks and wiping his mouth.

I had envisioned this wonderful portrait painted on his face but Walmart face paints were not very good paints and no matter what I did, I couldn't make it look like real paint on his face.  I was tempted to use acrylic paints but was afraid it would stain, or worse.

Here are some other interesting looking characters.

 I wish you could see the line to come up to this house.  This picture doesn't do it justice.
Neither does this video.  The steady stream of kids trick or treating is pretty amazing.  So are our friends' decorations.

Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Elk Cliff Farm Poker

I've been dressing the animals for Halloween for the past 4 or 5 years.  It gets more and more challenging coming up with costume ideas, and ones that fit animals, and I can put on them quickly and get a photo. This year I got really lazy.  Since it's 5 days before Halloween I can say this isn't really a Halloween post anyway.  I decided to anthropomorphize the animals in paint, using the Dogs Playing Poker theme.
James and I will still be dressing up for Halloween.  That post will follow.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Different strokes for different folks

I've been on a portrait painting kick lately.  I've mentioned before how I've been trying to figure out what my painting style is but it never seems to get any clearer, because one day I can paint a face a particular way and it feels really good.  Then another day I'll paint another face in a different way and it feels equally as right.  Here are 3 portraits I've painted just a few weeks apart.  Maybe it just happens to be the mood I'm in that day that affects my style.  Or maybe the face says, "paint me this way".
 Casual pose, palette knife.
 More serious, serene, smaller brushes and more realistic.
 Loose and happy.

Beef tongue tacos

This was one of my more successful offal dinners.  We try to use what we can from every animal we butcher but some parts just aren't palatable.  Remember my kidney fail?  Well, turns out, beef tongue is very tender and delicious, and is also very large.
It was very simple to cook too.  I boiled it for 2 hours, peeled it, cut it up and prepared it like you would any other meat for tacos.

James thought it was good.  I thought it was great.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Painting workshop

James and I spent 3 days in Boone, NC this week so I could take a realistic impressionism workshop a friend had told me about.  This was my first workshop ever and I loved it and learned so much; at least I hope I did.  There were 7 of us in the class.  My friend, Dottie, and I were the only ones to paint with oil.  The others, including the teacher, used acrylics.  Dottie paints exclusively with a palette knife, which I haven't done, other than a tiny bit here and there.  The teacher also used a palette knife a good deal so I thought this was as good a time as any to explore its uses.

I paint a lot of people and animals, rarely landscapes.  This was an opportunity to stretch myself and I was a bit anxious about it.  Our teacher and my classmates were very laid-back and fun so it was silly of me to feel that way.  You know I'm not a shy person, so it wasn't because I was worried about fitting in or anything like that.  I get anxious before just about every painting I begin.  I can't explain it.

Egie Antonaccio was our teacher.  Google him to see some beautiful paintings.  He has a thick Italian accent, which was fun to listen to, and entertained us with anecdotes.  He never seemed bothered by us chattering away as he did his morning demonstrations.

Here's my first, and favorite of my paintings from the workshop.  I like the texture a palette knife creates.
Day 2's painting didn't go as well but I'm looking at this as a work in progress and maybe in the next few days I can complete it and pull off something respectable.  I didn't want to work on it the last day because I wanted to get in as much painting of new things as I could.
Day 3 painting is a little wild and colorful but as I look at it today I'm liking it a bit more.  I may change the background.  This was my first pig, Roxie and her little buddy, Wassie.  They do look happy, don't they?
Some pretty spectacular paintings came out of other classmates, especially one man, Terry, who was picking up a brush (or palette knife) for the first time ever.  I was so impressed with him.  Here are 2 of his paintings.  I'm guessing Terry is somewhere around 70 years old.

My friend, who has been painting for just 2 years, did some awesome paintings.

Some more paintings from the class.

I think all of these paintings look better in person than in these photos.

We bought one of Egie's demo paintings to have a memory from this week.  Maybe one day I can paint something like this in just an hour.
While I was in the workshop James ran, wrote and sketched.  Yes, he's getting the art bug too.  It won't be long till he's painting.