An artist's journal.
Here you'll find my paintings and musings, where the featured subjects could likely cover just about anything.
The last 4+ years I've been caring for my best buddy B during his courageous fight to live through cancer and it's complications. I'm tickled to report, he's getting better and I'm finding small bits of painting time again.

Looking forward to a daily celebration of life's gifts by using the brightest, happiest colors in the box!

Visitors looking for 'B's Journey', click here.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, December 29, 2008

"In my waking wrestling match with gravity, I am continually pinned, yet sometimes, in my dreams, I can fly! ... I know I am lucky, as this privilege, is not shared by all. ...Feeling almost weightless, I swoop and soar.....laughing in wonderment at the trees and seas below" ~Jenna Millward Corkill

Every now and then, i have dreams in which i am flying... so real i can almost feel the wind on my face as i soar... i am thankful for the gift of these dreams, they are magical and fun!... i don't know the catalyst for these flying dreams, and that's probably a good thing because if i did, i would probably be sleeping too much!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

click image for larger view

About this painting........early in my career, realism was the style of most of my paintings…many looked almost photographic…now I find myself working more and more in a softer abstract style…in ‘DRAGONFLY' , I have blended these two styles…I love the contrast of the realistic beads of water over the soft, subtle dragonfly tiles in the background...this is a tranquil painting.

After a quick glance on my website at my AVAILABLE PAINTINGS or my SOLD gallery, you'll see many different types of paintings, so different in fact, many people can't believe the same person paints them all.
My 'TALL TREE' series is the closest I've come to recognizable and it's become a favorite for collectors. It's a style I like to visit from time to time, but I can't be pigeonholed or tied to any one style...I tease I have multiple personalities, but teasing aside, there's actually quite a bit of truth in that statement.

I'm never really sure who'll show up at the easel, but I do know it'll be an adventure.... a search for the magic...colorful and bright... or dark and moody.... realistic or abstracted... EBAY is a wonderful outlet for these sometimes introspective, sometimes playful paintings!

Cropped detail of "DRAGONFLY"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The snowflake wish

The snowflake wishjenna millward corkill 2007©

You've heard it many times before,
though try as hard as you might,
out of a trillion, billion, gazillion,
you will not find two alike.

So imagine our amazement
while searching the winter sky,
we happened to see, oh could it be?!
twin snowflakes floating by!

We ran after them a shouting,
as we couldn't believe our eyes.
They turned around and smiled,
delighted with our surprise.

"Make a wish, hurry!" they laughed
"like you do on a shooting star!"
for seeing us is a special treat
and much more rare, by far!

So we closed our eyes and made our wish
of all good things for you.
Have a very Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year too!

To all our friends and family, far and near, Brian and I wish you a joyous, peaceful Christmas.

These are all photos of actual snowflakes taken with a photomicroscope.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Christmas Treasure Hunt

When the kids were young adults, before their own families got larger, they would come to our house Christmas day... Along with a little gift, we would also give them a little $... to make that present really exciting, we started having Christmas treasure hunts to find the gift... the last treasure hunt was in 2002, after which the kids started staying at their own homes Christmas day, establishing their own family traditions with their kids... so no more Christmas at mom's, no more treasure hunts.

This year, Chip and Lisa and their kids are here in Tucson for the holidays... so along with Casey and Jason and their kids we had our Christmas dinner for everyone this last Sunday, the 21st..... we decided to surprise them with a treasure hunt for the grandkids.... Chip and Casey were overwhelmed with emotion as the grandkids found in their one giftbox to all, the envelope containing...

The 10 clues of Christmas~2008

T’was four nights before Christmas, at our grandparents house
Something magic was stirring, and it wasn’t a mouse
Clues had been hidden, for the grandkids with care
All the grownups could feel, excitement in air

Moms and dads smiled, when they heard these words read
Visions of treasure hunts past, danced through their heads
But this year is different, so parents, take a nap
Because this year it’s the grandkids, who will hunt for the map

So merry Christmas grandchildren, let’s have some fun
A new treasure hunt tradition, has just begun
Your parents will now watch you, with faces of glee
While you kids find the clues, that will lead to the key

There are nine of you grandkids, each has a clue all your own
And these clues will be hidden, throughout rooms in our home
Each child will be searching, for their very own clue
While the other’s all watch, to see what you do

Finding treasure hunt clues, might be hard for the little ones
But let them try for themselves 'cause watching them search will be fun
Big kids, can give hints, when the clues aren’t quite clear
For it’s true helping others, fills our hearts with good cheer

Now dash away, dash away, dash away all
The first clue can be found in a closet, in the hall

Found in the hall closet for~ Rimona (age 1)
Hey Miss Rimona, we bet you are glad
That you have the help, of some moms and some dads
Cause you’re not very tall, heck, you just started walking
And for you it’d be hard, to reach the red stocking

Found in a red Christmas stocking for~ Lennon- (age 3)
It’s your turn now Lenny, it’s all up to you
Frosty the snowman is hiding your clue
Under the Christmas tree is where he is at
And the clue that you seek is under his hat

Found in Frosty’s hat for~ Gianna- (age 5)
Now Miss Gianna, this clue’s for you
We’ll all be watching to see what you do
Will Santa ride in a car on Christmas day?
No, he’ll be riding in a GREEN Christmas sleigh!

Found in the green sleigh for~ Trevor- (age 5)
This next clue’s for someone and Trevor’s his name
The clue that he seeks hides in a fun X-box game.

Found in an x-box game for~ Kamea- (age 7)
It’s time for Kamea to find the next clue
We know you can do it, it’s all up to you
Sometimes we cough, sometimes we sneeze
And if our nose runs, we need one of these

Found under a tissue box for~ Aubrey- (age 8)
It’s your turn now Aubrey, to find the next clue
And it’s hidden inside a duck that is blue
He quacks as he sings, but that’s not all he does
He hides the next clue inside all that fuzz

Found in the blue fuzzy duck for~ Brina- (age 11)
Brina all treasure hunts past have had this one clue
And this year finding it, will be up to you
Is it up, is it down, is it here, is it there?
The clue that you seek is under a chair

Found under a chair for~ Lauren- (age 13)
This clue is for you, miss Lauren Jane
Ho ho ho’s what he says, hiding clues is his game
This may sound too easy, but it’s not all that
Just like frosty did earlier, he used his hat

Found in a Santa Claus hat for~ Emma- (age 14)
Emma, hooray! It’s now up to you
It’s finally your turn to find the next clue
Hanging somewhere that’s really not too hard to see
In a box you will find the map and the key

Found in a small box ornament on the hall tree garland for everyone~
Map and key to treasure chest!!!

We put little 'NO, NOT HERE' notes under most the chairs, also in every Santa hat, red stocking and box style ornament...except of course, for the correct chair, hat, stocking, box, which held the real was so much fun when they'd find a note thinking it was their CLUE only to see 'NO, NOT HERE'.

The Treasure chest was hidden in the same closet as the first clue, so they went full circle...when the grandkids found it they were screaming with delight! They carried it back to the living room, and all 9 of them crowded around it as they used the key to open the lock and find their Christmas was truly a magical moment when they lifted the lid and saw their gifts and beautiful scrolls, one for each of them with $$ at the bottom!

Hooray! Wow, you did it!
You found your own scroll.
With your prize at the bottom,
when it’s completely unrolled.

We hope that this gift,
will help you acquire.
A present you want,
a thing you’ve desired.

We’ve had a fun time!
You kids all did great!
You’ve all found the treasure
of Christmas 2008!

oh yes, i almost forgot.... even though my pace was slower, i got the house and tree trimmed with time to spare... i used the mantra 'less is more' and was quite pleased with the results.

Friday, December 12, 2008

"BRINA" 12/2003
acrylic on canvas

This is a portrait of our granddaughter Brina... She was 6 years old at the time i painted this portrait during Christmas time 2003.... She is the third of our nine grandchildren, now 11 years old with a wonderful sense of humor, cracking one liners a lot like her grandfather Fred... she's amazingly easygoing and has a strong sense of wanting to help the world and others less fortunate than her... for the past two years in a row she has donated her beautiful long hair to the cancer society to make wigs for kids with cancer... she is truly a special child and we are very proud of her.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"There is more to life than increasing it's speed."~ Mahatma Gandhi

Blink and your children are grown... blink again and you have 9 grandchildren.Since i've retired, my pace has slowed considerably.... it's not a physical necessity, it's a conscious choice to take a more relaxed pace doing daily tasks.... when i was working and time challenged, these same tasks took a fraction of the time it takes me now....because now i stop and take the time to enjoy the simple things that come along throughout the day... a sort of ' stop and smell the roses' approach...i tell Casey i live a still life, and i love it's stillness....(not to be confused with boring, no, definitely not boring).... in comparing notes on retirement with Melanie, one of my best friends who retired 5 weeks earlier than me, we simply can't believe how much more time we take doing tasks we were once able to get done quickly.... because now, we allow ourselves to be sidetracked by all the nonessential wonderful things we once had no time for.

I am finding though, that i may be taking this slow paced thing a bit too far this Christmas and if i'm not careful, THE DAY will arrive and i will be totally unprepared... for us, THE DAY this year will be Sunday, the 21st...all the kids and grandkids are coming to Christmas dinner at our house and i'm not sure they will understand all this slow paced stuff if it doesn't look a little bit like Christmas' when they arrive.... i haven't done a single thing about Christmas yet except put lights on the shopping, no presents, no cards, no baking, heck, the tree's been up for over a week with just it's lights and the rest of the house is undecorated as well...totally uncharacteristic for me...i'm usually done with 90% of holiday preparations by now.

Me: we really need to get the ornaments on the tree soon and finish decorating the house

My brain: what's the hurry...we have time

Me: well, last week we may have had the time, but time is running out quickly, we've got visitors arriving next week, we haven't even started shopping or baking or....or......or.....

My brain: ok, ok, i guess we do need to get the tree done today, but first i think i'll... update my blog...or...(do just about anything else but decorate the tree or house)

Now don't get me wrong....i love Christmas and all the trimmings so i'm still not completely in touch with why i'm dragging my feet this year with this tree/house trimming stuff.... i think it feels a bit like work and being a retired florist has a lot to do with that....all the years spent decorating and trimming my shop and displays, getting the holiday centerpiece orders filled, keeping the fresh display cooler full of Christmas arrangements, etc..etc...etc.....i just think i'm a little burnt out on all that decorating and trimming stuff... it's just another task.... the first few years that i wasn't a working florist during the holiday season, it was fun turning all my attention to trimming our was novelty to have the time to spend on home decorating and i loved it... but now, i want to simplify.... slow down....everything..... including Christmas.

All those active florists out there right now know the holidays are a wonderfully crazy time of year...heck, in my shop just watering the poinsettias took hours ( we had hundreds of poinsettias) ....and hundreds more of living pine trees in many shapes and sizes....and you can't just randomly give each plant the same drink or you'll drown some and deprive others...these are living plants and absorb water at their own pace... and a drowning plant presents with the same symptoms as a parched plant, so adding water could be the final blow... at the holidays, a florist's work is never finished, you literally run all day and you have to convince yourself to go home at the end of the long day, finished or not, or you would never sleep.

Definitely not a slow pace... definitely not still...which is why i savor this slow, still life i now lead... i guess i'll just have to accept that Christmas time will always be a bit hectic, but at least, for me, the retired florist, i can now look forward to valentines day, easter, and mother's day being happily taken at my new slower pace.

Well, i guess i've stalled long enough with this extra long post... it's time to get to the tree trimming... wish me luck.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Making progress on 'venetian pool'.... the water, the long brick steps that all the little kids would sit on while we listened to our swim teachers, the pergola with it's allamanda vines, the loggia.... there will be many little points of interest in this painting because the actual 'VENETIAN POOL' is just like that... full of beautiful little surprises... the coral walls that have fern growing right out of them, the old carved stone benches , the beautiful old doors now painted periwinkle blue, the archways, wonderful stairways, the waterfalls, the fountains, the sandy beach... they are all just begging to be stars of their own in future paintings... for those of us who grew up with this historic pool as a daily part of our childhood, these paintings will have added meaning...

These detail shots show progress on the background sky and palm trees.

I think this is one of my current favorites to work on... let me know along the way if you like it too.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Venetian Pool~a work in progress

Here's a view of the whole 24" x 36" canvas of my current work in progress 'Venetian Pool'... this is a view of the shallow pool where i learned to swim in the late 1950's.

Friday, December 5, 2008

venetian pool, a work in progress

As i've mentioned in previous posts, i always have multiple works in progress... this is cropped detail of "venetian pool", a current work in progress featuring the historic Coral Gables landmark where i learned to swim as a toddler many many many many, ok, maybe not that many, years ago... the painting will measure 24" x 36" when completed and this little detail only reveals a small portion of the overall painting... this will be a fun one to follow.

i was born in Coral Gables and Venetian Pool was one of my favorite places to visit... it's been around since the 1920's and was once a coral rock quarry pit that was turned into this magnificent pool... it's history is wonderful... it's 820,000 gallons of water are emptied and refilled every night from cool underground springs... and it looked remarkably the same as i remembered it from the '60's when i went home for a visit in 1997... i took a bunch of pictures and this painting is one of many i want to do from that visit home.

Monday, November 17, 2008

...And the Patches Make the Goodbyes Harder Still...

Once I dreamed I was a butterfly, and now I no longer know whether I am Chuang Tzu, who dreamed I was a butterfly, or whether I am a butterfly dreaming that I am Chuang Tzu." -Chuang Tzu

detail of 20" x 48" diptych
acrylic on canvas
private collector, Marinal Del Rey, CA

This was a really neat painting... a large abstract diptych with realistic looking painted denim covered in both painted and real patches... a tribute to my favorite bluejeans from the '60's.

Oh very young
What will you leave us this time
You're only dancing on this earth for a short while
And though your dreams may toss and turn you now
They will vanish away, like your daddy's best jeans
Denim blue, fading up to the sky
And though you want them to last forever
You know they never will
You know they never will
And the patches make the goodbye harder still-

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

22" artglass panel

As promised, here's a detail of my flower artglass panel... lots of glass pieces!... i love the colors in this window... the circular highlights in the flower's center are small faceted topaz jewels.

This photo shows the amazing glow this window produces when the afternoon sun begins to set behind it... the entire studio is filled with brilliant red, orange and gold is truly breathtaking and one of my favorite times of day to be in my studio.... if you look closely at my easel you can see i was working on 'NIGHT NIGHT LITTLE SIS' at the time i took this picture.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I love my studio!

This is the southeast corner of my studio... my main easel is just out of this picture, on the right, facing my Eames chair...the sunflower lamp on the table is one of my original designs, from my lamp making days... the studio is a good size, 14' x 18', but half of it is still occupied by my artglass... 3 work benches, glass storage bins from small to good size sheets, tools, light tables and such... i haven't worked on any new artglass in the last 4 years, but i can't seem to bring myself to say i'm done with that form of expression... if and when i do, i'll have a heck of a painting studio, with tons of room, but for now i am a little cramped in here... i love the smell of this room... it still smells like an artglass studio and every single time i walk in, i feel peaceful... it also has a great stereo to play my current favorites while i paint... I LOVE THIS SPACE!

There was a time, over a decade ago, when i was really into sunflowers, so consequently i received a lot of sunflower related stuff for my birthdays, Christmas and such... the sunflower things seen in this studio shot are a few of my favorites i've kept from that period...i am not a person who wants to be defined by the collections i keep, so if i start to have too many of any one thing, i will downsize to a favorite few....... i've kept the sentimental sunflower things that my kids and friends have given me, including a handmade blanket that Eva made for me and the two foot long blown glass sunflower gift my friend Rob Cuttieta brought me from the chicago museum of art... because of it's fragile nature and size he had to hand carry it all the way back to tucson on his flight home from chicago (thanks rob, i love it).

In my next post i will feature the west side of my studio, or more specifically, the west window in my studio.... i have artglass panels in all my studio windows, but the one in the west window is unique... every afternoon as the sun sets, it fills the studio with an amazing magical glow... it's really something special.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

"ANNIE" ...also know as 'the boudge dog'

"ANNIE" ...also know as 'the boudge dog'

~a work in progress~

I am currently working on a half dozen new paintings, all in various states of completion... sometimes, when i start spending too much time on a painting, i begin to paint in circles, with little progress and poor results... so i step away from it for a while... i put it aside.......if i find i still want to continue painting during that session, i'll start playing with another 'work in progress'... often times, after i've finished playing with some of these different canvases, i'll return to the painting i put aside and be amazed at how clearly i can now see what the next step will be.

18" x 24" x 1.5"
acrylic on canvas
Bennett collection, Woodinville, WA

Monday, October 20, 2008

"KAMEA" 12/2003
acrylic on canvas
cropped detail

Brian has always said i captured lightning in a bottle with this portrait... it was the first portrait of any of our grandchildren and took just a few hours, instead of days, to complete... for reference, i used a photo of Kamea taken as she was running and playing with her sisters and cousins... she had stopped for just a moment to let me take her picture... no, she is not an armless child, she just has them behind her back... she was 2 years old at the time and is now 6... she may be the most precocious of any of our grandkids so far... an amazing child!

"TREVOR" 2004
acrylic on canvas

This is a portrait of our grandson, Trevor... the reference photo for this portrait was taken by our daughter Casey... she is an aspiring photographer and was playing with capturing Trevor lit just by the Christmas lights... it is one of my favorite portraits, glowing and warm... Casey would like me to paint another portrait of Trevor someday that shows his adorable face... add that to my 'to do' list of grandkid portraits... as i've mentioned in an earlier post, i still have 3 grandkids whose portraits i haven't painted yet... anyways, this was obviously Trevor's first Christmas, so he was about 9 months old... he is 5 now, just started kindergarten... whenever the family gets together for visits, he is papa's (grandpa brian) little shadow... a darling little boy!

For all you reunion folks in Columbus this week, here's a pic of Brian, Kathy and Jeff taken at Kathy's grandson Connor's first birthday party on Oct. 11th...
In the margin, on the left side of this blog, you will find links to friends and family on James' (Kathy's son) and Nichol's blog to see some really amazing photos of Connor and get a glimpse into their lives.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The leaves are changing in Colorado Springs... our daughter-in-law, Lisa, sent us this photo of her with our grandkids... i know they love their new home, but we sure miss them tons! This is their second fall season in the high country... i can't believe they've been gone over a year and a half!
From left to right they are Emma, 14, Lennon, 3, Brina, 11, Rimona, almost 1, Lisa, Gianna, 5 and Kamea, 6. Lisa, do i have the ages correct? I lose track occasionally.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

20" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
Ronstadt collection, Tucson, AZ

"HARVEST MOON" photos just can't quite do justice to show the neat texture found throughout this painting... i primarily paint using many layers of transparent glazes, a process that usually doesn't produce a lot of texture, but with this painting i heavily textured the canvas first keeping in mind the composition i was imagining... i really like the way it turned out, especially the swirls in the sky...the grass and tree texture is neat too....i've included a few close-up shots with some texture and signature details... click on photos to enlarge a bit more.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I am a retired florist and a frustrated transplanted floridian gardener... my yard is beautiful... with flowers, ferns, hibiscus and such blended with our local more native yard has always leaned towards having more of the tropical stuff than the native stuff, and i guess that would be ok, if i wasn't living in the desert... trying to maintain this little oasis takes a lot of work (which equals time) and a lot of water (tucson's shrinking water table has been on my mind quite a bit lately).

This last year i've begun to resent the amount of time my gardening takes from my studio time...i still love to garden, but i want to reduce my workload and reduce our water consumption... i have been saying goodbye to the high maintenance water guzzling stuff and replacing it with some really stunning low maintenance native stuff... no cactus though!... i don't do thorns and spikes!... although i have made an exception for a really nice giant spanish bayonet that was living here before us and he's here to stay! stunning! he just sent up a 20 foot bloom last month that was incredible!.

Anyways, the results of my yard makeover so far are really nice and i know brian will appreciate the lower water bill... in some of my outdoor pots, i'm using native plants to mimic the look of flowing water... the effect is really neat and these pots could someday star in one of my gardenscape paintings... i also designed and built a waterless fountain, that uses succulents, asparagus fern and dusty miller to suggest the look of water in a fountain...below are a few photos of my back yard taken today.

I will go into a bit more detail about the succulents and native plants i've added to our backyard in a later post... some of the potted plants that mimic water flowing are in these photos, but difficult to see, so i'll post some close ups later, along with botanical names and such.

On a different note, this last week our 5 year old grandson needed a soccer banner for his team and i was elected to make it... being an artist i probably spent more hours than necessary on the project, but trevor loved it, as did all his cute little dinosaur team mates..... i think casey will have some pics of the finished banner in the livingstone family blog soon. When i finally catch up, i am looking forward to some serious studio time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I've been on vacation this last week or so... my best friend from childhood, Lisa, came from Vero Beach, Florida for a 5 day visit... she brought her two daughters, Kristen and Jenny and we had a great time!... we got in lots of local Tucson shopping, including the 4th Ave and the University of Arizona districts...we also did a lot of sightseeing, including a visit to Kartchner Caverns and a scenic drive through our Saguaro National Monument... i don't think either Kristen or Jenny had ever seen a saguaro catus before, let alone a 'forest' of them... it's neat to see the desert through a newcomers eyes... it reminds me of how i felt the first time i came out here to arizona from florida... the mountains are beautiful, and much of the vegetation is beautiful in a unique way... i just wish we had an ocean... i miss my ocean... probably why i paint a lot of seascapes and waterscapes.... landlocked, i am, and at times, restless, for the sea.

We found time to take an overnight trip to Sedona, Arizona and spent about 5 hours being pampered at Sedona's New Day Spa... facials, sauna and something called the 'true sedona clay treatment'...oh my gosh! it was amazing! a great getaway!

Lisa with her girls.

Me, with Kristen and Jenny.

I have lived in Arizona 37 years and had never visited Sedona's beautiful area's was absolutely breathtaking and a fun experience for all of us...

A few photos shot on our way out of Sedona, Arizona. To see enlarged versions of these photos, click on each picture.

Thanks, girls, for a wonderful visit! I'll miss you!

Friday, August 29, 2008

18" x 36"
acrylic on canvas
Click on picture above to see larger image.
Here's the new autumn painting i've been working on... it features Shortcake, my strawberry roan... she hasn't been in any of my new paintings since 2006 and i'm pleased she's in this one.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I've spent the last few days completely absorbed in an autumn painting... perhaps i'm trying to fast forward a bit, but late august almost always brings a longing for fall... we are close to the end of summer and sooo close to beginning our 8 month stretch of amazingly beautiful weather... cooler fall temps, mild winters, topped off with our magnificent springs... if you've never visited the desert in the winter, you should... it's quite nice.

Anyways, back to the autumn painting... i love it so far and hope to add it to my ebay store soon. One of my horses is grazing in a field, but i haven't decided if it's LaLa, the appaloosa, Firefly, the gray Chincoteague pony or Shortcake, the strawberry roan... in the past, my 'horse series' paintings have let me feature my friends, LaLa, Firefly and Shortcake.

When I was a kid I used to dream of having a pony of my very own… I read every horse book there was in the library... and although my wish never came true, i have discovered with the creation of these three friends, that it's never too late to have your own pony.

My paintings featuring LaLa, Firefly and Shortcake have a special place in my heart. I try to do several each year for EBAY and i think Shortcake is going to show up in this current autumn painting i'm working on.

Below are a few sold paintings featuring Shortcake, the strawberry roan...

24" x 24" x 1.5"
acrylic on canvas
Wingate collection, Tucson, AZ

"THIRSTY" 2006
20" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
Cardoso Iken collection, Manassas, VA

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

detail of 'EVANGELINA' portrait

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."-Michelangelo

16" x 20"
acrylic on canvas

I presented this portrait to Evangelina on saturday, july 19th, 2008, her 80th birthday!...this portrait journey began when her daughter, Rebecca, brought me a 60 year old photo and asked if i could do a portrait from it... if i had looked closely at that source photo and seen how poor the quality was, i might have declined, but i didn't... the challenges were great, but so too were the rewards... Evangelina was thrilled and Rebecca cried, saying i had captured her mother exactly as she remembered her as a little girl... a good day indeed!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Art War ~ a friendly competition 
My son, Chip, is also an artist, with a degree in visual communication from the University of Arizona... while he was still in college in 1995, we were both employed by the same company....about 75 employees worked there. One day Chip and I happened to be in the break room at the same time, along with several other employees... everyone knew Chip and I were artists, and on this particular day we were discussing our current art projects... well, this child I'd brought into this world, started talking smack about who was the better artist, me or him!... back and forth it went for a few minutes until someone there suggested we have a little 'art competition' to see who was the best... so a few guidelines were decided along with a deadline and the 'art war' began..

It was decided we had 30 days to paint a 16" x 20" black and white of any dead rock and roll artist... we would then display these 2 paintings in the break room and let all our fellow employees vote for their favorite.

The day of the unveiling was so fun!... I was completely blown away by Chip's painting of
Kurt Cobain and tickled by his positive reaction to my portrait of John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe... when the votes (60+) were tallied after a few days, Chip was the winner, by one vote!... I teased him that I had voted for him, so it was my vote that won it for him... then he revealed he'd voted for me!... what a sweet son!

16" x 20"
acrylic on canvas
artist: Jenna Millward

My painting was based on an Astrid Kircherr photo taken in 1960... George Harrison was in the original photograph, but he was still alive in 1995. Since this painting could only include deceased rock and roll artists, I had to leave him out of the painting.

16" x 20"
artist: Chip Cole

If you look closely in the shadowed area of chip's Kurt Cobain painting, you will see a skull.

Below is a detail of my painting for the competition... I love painting guitars...heck, I just love guitars... look at Stuart's big ole Hofner hollow body bass and John's famous Rickenbacker Capri 325.... I am currently learning to play bass guitar and loving it, but that's a story for another day.

Monday, August 18, 2008

8" x 10"
acrylic on canvas
Van Riemsdyk collection, Tucson, AZ

i've had an artglass studio for 22 years... and i loved creating beautiful artglass panels... i simply love the glass!... i have a studio full of beautiful sheets of glass that i have collected over the years just waiting for the perfect panel...

the painting "TIFFANY'S VIEW" came from an idea i had to capture the essence of the skies in many of Louis Comfort Tiffany's landscape artglass panels... he not only did artglass, he was a painter first, and when he started making his own glass, the glass he created for each panel was perfectly suited for the window he was creating... many of the sky portions of his works look like paintings, but are actually glass...Tiffany created the glass by swirling various minerals into the molten glass thus creating the colors he wanted for the beautiful skies found in his panels.

i think i captured that soft muted Tiffany sky feel in this painting... and in the wooded area i used colorful transparent glazes with darker outlines to slightly mimic the look of artglass... i like the results and plan to visit this style again in future paintings.

'TIFFANY'S VIEW' is one of brian's favorite paintings... he calls it 'the hobbitt painting'.

Below is a Louis Comfort Tiffany window that illustrates his remarkable custom glass making abilities... panels like this and other Tiffany landscape windows were my inspiration for 'TIFFANY'S VIEW'.

Friday, August 15, 2008

"AUBREY" 12/2003
acrylic on canvas

Of our 9 grandchildren, i have done portraits of 6... all painted in 2003...portraits of our granddaughters, emma and lauren, appeared earlier on this blogsite ... my son's youngest 3 still need portraits painted.... i know, i know... so many grandkids, so little time... this is a portrait of our granddaughter, aubrey, taken from a photo of her when she was about 4 years old... she looks like she was up to something when the photo was snapped... maybe she was hiding something behind her back...all i know is i just loved her impish expression so much i had to paint it... when aubrey saw her finished portrait she asked me "grandma, why aren't i smiling?"... "oh my little miss aubrey, that is a smile, an impish smile, and you are absolutely adorable!"... aubrey is 8 now, smart as a whip and still adorable... she was teachers little helper within 5 minutes on the first day of school.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband. Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen. 'Careful,' he said,'CAREFUL! Put in some more butter!
Oh my gosh! You're cooking too many at once. TOO TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter.
Oh my gosh! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER? They're going to STICK! Careful. CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL!
You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind?
Don't forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt! USE THE SALT! THE SALT!'
The wife just stared at him. 'What in the world is wrong with you? You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?'
The husband calmly replied, 'I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving.'

Brian sent me that joke today and it reminded me of this story...
When brian and i go out together he almost always does the driving... and i almost always, i mean, i occasionally help from the passenger seat... one of the things i love about my relationship with brian is the sense of humor we apply to our differences, so rather than be annoyed with my occasional, i mean, rare offers of side seat driving help, he found a wonderfully funny solution to help me tone it down a bit... he hid a rolled up sock in the car's center console compartment... while driving one day, probably after i had asked him again if he was sure we were taking the easiest route, he pulled that sock out of the console and handed it to me with a twinkle in his eye... i laughed so hard!... ok ok, i'll put a sock in it!... that sock only came out occasionally, but worked wonders when it did.

For the record though, that sock worked so well, that, when he missed his turns or wasn't sure where we were going, he lamented he sorta missed my help... now the sock is gone and i didn't take it.

A few days ago, i was doing the driving, and in true side seat style, he was asking me if i was sure i wanted to take that route... we just looked at each other and grinned... it's gotta be the seat!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Below are a few photos of a wall niche mural i painted.

This niche was over the stove and the mural complimented perfectly the decor of the kitchen and house... and this was quite a house! Janie McCourt occasionally requests my work for some of Tucson's upscale homes who commission her amazing wall design services.

The niche was relatively high up and required I worked from scaffolding. I enjoy these occasional breaks from painting at my easel.

Detail of ~'au petit jardin'~ niche mural.

Monday, August 11, 2008

'BRIAN' 2002
20" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
private collection, Tucson, Az

In 2002 i came across a photo of brian onstage in early 1997 opening up for 'Three Dog Night" and thought it would make a neat portrait... i once did a series of black and white portraits of various musicians... hendrix, lennon, harrison, harry chapin, ian anderson (jethro tull)... perhaps in later posts i'll feature a few of those old paintings in this blog... including the results of an art competition between my son and me in 1995...

Brian has been a local Tucson musician since the '70's... in a variety of great bands including... Hobbitt, Aftermath, Hit and Run, Tunesmith, Trilogy, The Billy Shears Band, Raven and his current bands, Still Cruisin' and Chuck Wagon and the Wheels... he also fills in as a guest guitarist in several local bands... some of his favorite gigs are the ones he does with John Ronstadt(guitar, vocals), Jeanne Ronstadt(accordion, vocals) and Bill Ronstadt(bass, vocals).......he is also a guest guitarist for The Desert Sons.

Still Cruisin' played for Palo Verde High School's 40th reunion last saturday and it was a blast!
That class of '68 knows how to party! ...and there were a lot of really good musicians in that class who sat in with the band... lots of fun!
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"There are days when I feel I could've painted the Sistine Chapel and, then, there are the days when I'm not sure I could trace a stick figure.... the only difference between these days is my state of mind"~ Jenna Millward Corkill