Friday, February 29, 2008

They Grow Up So Fast

Today I'm posting pictures of Bear Hudson, a really cute Golden Retriever puppy who also happens to be one of my nephews! He came into the home and hearts of our good friends, the Hudson Family this Christmas. Every time I see Bear, he seems to have doubled in size. Here he enjoys his first real snow with his brother, Pluto. The old guy's really getting into great shape with his new intensive exercise program!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Nieces, Sandy and Sandy

Today I'm posting pictures of my two nieces who were named after yours truly! They are just two of the cutest, most friendly and playful, people oriented kitties I've ever met. Their last name is Heil and they are the pride and joy of parents, Dorrie and Dave and siblings, Samantha and Conner. Their full names are Sandy I and Sandy II, but I always forget which is which.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New Addition To The Family

I just got pictures of my new nephew! He arrived over the weekend. Proud parents, sister Denise and brother in law, Brent have named him Augustus Bush, nickname, Augie Doggie. Denise writes;" Brought baby home on Sunday. He wanted to be held and slept the entire trip. He loves his new house and feels so lucky to have so many toys that already smell like ‘dog’! He was a little unsteady at first but got coordinated real quick with having the room to run and play. He went under the deck the other night when Dan had him out and it took some coaxing to get him to come back out. Now he wants to go under there all the time. I think he is anxious to kill something, or whatever is living under there. We have to put him on the leash now. He is brave, smart and funny! He is a Welsh Terrier and will look just like an Airedale only smaller; up to 22 lbs. Right now he is tiny at 7 1/2 weeks and probably only weighs a couple of pounds. He was the biggest of the 3. He was quick to gain confidence and can be a terror...I call him a Tasmanian Devil! Did I tell you he is smart? He watches TV and his ears wiggle while he listens! I am in love!"

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tree Gestures

I took this picture the other day when it snowed. I love the way the snow accentuates the gesture and silhouette of things. This tree couple looks as if they might be doing the tango or possibly the tree on the right is pleading for forgiveness. Also do you see the man's face in the trunk of the tree about a foot and a half above the ground?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Big Babies

I'm changing the subject today as I need to stop thinking about my ongoing email issues which still have not been resolved. Today I'm posting photos of my two horses. The bottom one is Santa Margarita, my sixteen year old Thoroughbred/Oldenburg mare. The top picture is of Rembrant, my Thoroughbred/Paint. He just had his 28th birthday last week and is still going strong! I'm looking forward to the weather getting better for trail riding with my horses and my good buddy Betsy Hudson. She's the owner of  The Bright Side of Life, a Life Is good store located at 42 South Main Street in Medford, NJ. (609-654-5544) If you ever need a shot of positive energy, stop in her store and say Sandy sent you. I call her Ms. Sunshine and I guarantee she will brighten your day!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Comcast Still Blocking My Emails

Although I thought the problem I was having with Comcast blocking my emails had been cleared up, it has not. I am still not getting emails coming from my website. I unblock it and the next thing I know, they are being blocked again! The frustrating thing is I can't retrieve my blocked emails and often people get no warning that their message is not going through. If you need to get in touch with me, please use: temporarily until I can get this issue resolved once and for all. If any Comcast people are reading this: " What the *%$!!* is going on?!

We got a beautiful snowfall last night, but it's disappearing quickly as it's warming up. This is a picture I took this morning of Jerry's horseshoe art horse and saddle sculpture.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why Do I Blog?

People often ask me why I blog. It seems I'm somewhat obsessed with it these days. Sometimes I wonder myself, then an email like this one arrives about my Spirit Art Blog that I posted today on Determination. This one really makes my day. "It still amazes me when you pull up sayings that so fit where I am at. It's like you are in my head. Yesterday was the worst day I have had in a long time. It took such effort to keep on top of myself and my angry attitude. I just could not wait for the day to be over and I could sleep. Today is better. I felt, a few times, that I just wanted to just "give up". I was tired of staying on top of my lifeisum, but then I thought; giving up is not what my life is about these days and for the past years. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and this too shall pass. I put my words into action and with those thoughts, my determination to get through the day sober was easier. I hope you had two beers after your ordeal with Comcast, one for you and one for me. LOL Thanks for your thoughts." ~ Lee

We had a light dusting of snow last night and I took a walk in the woods this morning with my camera. This picture is of a little stream that runs in the back of our property. I love the way the snow accents the landscape and changes our perspectives. Do you also see the hidden hummingbird silhouette in this picture?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

February The Moose Of Smithville, NJ

This picture of February the moose was taken in 1886. Deer Parks were a popular feature on the estates of the wealthy at this time. By the early 1880's, H.B. Smith set about acquiring animals for his menagerie which included deer, moose, caribou and elk. His zoo was set apart from the main walled section of the manor but could be seen from a special viewing area. Plants and animals were not the only thing that Smith collected however. Although advanced in age, by 1885 he had an extensive entourage in residence including six attractive young ladies that many believed to be his harem. Tours of the Smithville Mansion Complex are filled with history, intrigue and visual delights. See the link posted in my previous blog for more information.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Emails Were Blocked

Comcast was blocking my emails coming from my website today although they wouldn't admit it. I spent most of the day on the phone to Comcast, my internet provider and Verio, my web hosting company. After hours of being on hold and talking to eight different technical support people, Comcast finally came clean and lifted the block. So, I've lost all emails sent to during the last 24 hrs. or more. If you emailed me at that address and I didn't respond that's probably why. I'm pretty sure it's all cleared up now. I'll post the picture of February the moose later. Right now I need a beer.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Smithville Mansion, Eastampton, NJ

Today I'm posting a picture of The Smithville Mansion, named after the second owner; H.B. Smith, inventor and entrepreneur. Smith's extraordinary accomplishments were clouded by personal controversy which I'll discuss more in detail later. The mansion is now owned by the County of Burlington, NJ and is open to tourists. Here one can tour Smith's "casino" annex, including card room, billiard room and bowling alley. Tourists can also view the site of Smith's zoo, the on site museum and wander through the grape arbors and rose garden courtyards. Next I'll post a picture of February the tame moose that Smith had trained to harness. You can find out more information about tours of the Smithville Mansion and Smithville Park here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tommy The Moose

Yesterday I got a book in the mail from the Smithville Mansion. It has a picture of February the Moose in it! I will scan the picture and post it here for the world to see within the next day or two. I found this picture of John Connell riding a moose on Google Images. According to a blog I found, Ruth wrote that Connell knew how to trap wild moose without harming them and was responsible for bringing moose to Newfoundland where they were not native. She said the animal in the picture was named Tommy. See my older posts for other vintage tame moose pictures!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tommy's Routine

Here's a current picture of Tommy The Terror. He's got a morning routine of playing with the dripping kitchen faucet. First thing he does is run into the kitchen, hop up on the sink and start waiting for the drips to come out. It's sort of like his morning cup of coffee I guess.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tommy Two Step

Today's picture is of Tommy Two Step , one of our two house cats. We got him at an art show two and a half years ago when he was just a handful of cuddly fun. Little did we know that he was a biter and that his name would soon change to Tommy The Terror. We have to keep him separated from Princess because he thinks it's his job to make her life miserable. Look how cute and innocent he looks here in this picture, just a few days after we adopted him.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Friendship Lost

Last week in my Inspiration For Your Day Blog, my topic was friendship. It got me thinking a lot about my friends, the ones I have and about ones I've lost. There's a saying that the way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. Too often we take friendships for granted until it is too late. Having friends over for dinner always makes me think of my dear departed friend, Jim Rinier, who passed from this world unexpectedly fourteen months ago. Jim always made getting together special and often had themes when he put on a dinner party. We usually got together once a month, alternating between his place and ours. He had a way of making every occasion and every friend feel very special. Below are pictures from my Bon Voyage Party he and his partner, Tommy, threw for me a couple of years ago before my Alaska Cruise with Robert Genn's art group.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dinner With Friends

Yesterday we had friends over for dinner. It was great to spend time with Donna, Dave and their thirteen year old daughter, Elena. Although we stay in touch via email, we hadn't gotten together in over six months. Wow, how time flies! Like many of our friends, Ordilles are also collectors and fans of my work, so it's always fun to show them what I've been working on. They did leave with a big, bright new 28" x 36" painting this time! It's one that Donna's been thinking about titled "The Sunny Side" for quite a while now. I am surprised it didn't sell before, but I guess this one was meant for them. I also enjoyed showing them some different slideshows I'v e created on my new Mac while Jerry put the finishing touches on dinner. For our main course, we had NJ caught Sea Bass and Dungeonous Crab. After dinner, the girls played games and the guys watched the tube. Donna, Elena and I had a blast playing Guesstures and then a short game of Pigmania. I laughed so hard I started wheezing.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Photographing Artwork

I was sitting here eating my DELICIOUS chocolate and caramel "JERSEY GIRL" candy bar (really - Jerry brought it from Nixon's General Store) and wondering what to blog about . I did six new paintings so far this week and I try to shoot pictures of them as I go along. That way it doesn't turn out to be such a big project. I shoot them outside my studio door (preferably in bright shade) on the north side of my house with my little Nikon Digital coolpix 880. I thought you might like to see the ones I just took. These two quarter sheet paintings are 11" x 15" - which frame up to 16" x 20" or larger. This is what the picture looks like before I tweak it in Photoshop. I always keep the painting next to me as I'm making adjustments to the image. I try to get is as close as I can to the original. As you can see, I never attach my paper to a board and the pigment comes right out to the deckle edges on all four sides. These watercolors would look great with some nice custom framing and floating mats.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Party Animals!

It was seventy degrees here today in the Northeast. The animals were loving it. Here's a picture of a party in progress!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cross Country Skiman

I normally don't enter group art shows. For me it is just more effort than it's worth. The show I just entered is different though. Original artwork is hung at a local school for two weeks. During that time, the kids get to look at all the work and copy it or create something inspired by one of the pieces. At the end of the two weeks, there is a reception for the artists, kids and parents. The children's art is hung next to the art they copied. It is just so much fun to see what the kids come up with and to see which pieces were the most popular. And the kids really make the artists feel like celebrities! My friend, Lee Gates, told me she volunteered Monday and took a group of kindergarteners around to look at the artwork. I entered four little snowman pictures and two larger spirit animal paintings. She said my work was a real hit. One little girl especially liked this cross country skiman. In another twenty or so years, I should have quite a good market for my work!

Monday, February 4, 2008

February The Moose

I called the Smithville Mansion today and inquired about that moose that pulled a cart. I spoke to a girl by the name of Carrie who said that the moose's name was February. How serendipitous is that! Anyway, she said they would get back to me as to whether or not they could email me a photo of him. Hopefully they can and I'll post it here!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Moose In Harness

This weekend, I forwarded a photo of a guy supposedly from Alaska who had a tame moose that he used in harness for lumbering and hauling tasks. Well, it seems that picture had been Photoshoped, however I do know that moose have been used in harness before. We have a museum near us with pictures of a prominent business owner who had a tame bull moose that he used to pull a buggy. I looked on Google Images and found these two pictures that certainly appear to be real.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Raining Cats And Dogs

It's really been coming down in buckets off and on all day. I had to go out to drop off paintings at a group show I'm participating in. The rain had let up, so I stopped off at the grocery store. By the time I got out, with my $100. plus purchases, it was pouring again. The fifteen minute drive home took almost a half an hour. I just kept thinking about that saying , " it's raining cats and dogs". What a fun painting it would be to create! It also got me wondering what the origins of the saying might actually be. Any ideas anyone?