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Thinking Outside The Paint Box

Labor Day 2016.  Friends, painting is not labor.  The fun and enjoyment derived from the hours I have in my studio can’t be measured in time or money.  Truly, we all know the phrase ‘starving artist’ – well…yes.  But I am full in many other ways – and one of those blessings is being able to share my work with you.

Let me know what you think of this new style I am working on…it is from my Foxy Lady line.

Ranger is in the house.

Ranger is in the house.

Saying Goodbye

Some good-byes in life are easier than others are.  When my husband threw away his cigarettes twenty plus years ago I did a dance of joy at the farewell party.  Other partings are much more difficult. Like saying goodbye to my friend, Jan Plasterer, when for seven months in 1996, we were aware that breast cancer had written her exit scene.

What amazes me the most is that as we hurtle toward fall 2016, we will not just be bidding adieu to another summer but one that was an awesome gift from God.   As summer passes most people send it off with a super duper farewell scene called “The Last Rites Of Summer”, which happens over the Labor Day weekend. Whatever you do over 2016 Labor Day, enjoy the weekend and be safe.

Sharing with you some of the doodles I did over the summer.  I tend to doodle with brush, paint and pen and ink…enjoy!

Doodles using watercolor brush and ink

Doodles using watercolor brush and ink

Doodle bouquet


This painting is of a wandering cat; originally a barn cat, who has adopted a beautiful family.  They named him Yellow Cat.  He has been coming and going from their backyard for a long time. He is somewhat tame with the female of the household but still a bit shy and wary towards other people.

When I began painting Yellow Cat I thought about his life and how he has managed to thrive and be loved again.

I hope you enjoy the painting and this story, written for cats, but applicable to all of us.

How to THRIVE  – from the Sweeney Cat Handbook

In rapidly changing economic times your family lost their home and moved away leaving you to fend for yourself.  World news continues to worsen, you’ve lost your home, your warm bed, and your loved ones.

What can you do?


Lick your cold paws, put on an air of dignity, and think –  do NOT panic.

You live in interesting times.  Take Advantage of it! Just think and map out a strategy.

List scary “what if” questions that are your fears.

Are they real? They won’t go away until you face them BUT they don’t need to rule your life


R – Regain

Regain control of your mind set. Stop the ‘gee, ain’t it awful thinking’ as you stare at the backdoor that is not opening for you to run through.

Find the positive in your situation and regain control over your fears and frustrations.

Most important:

regain control over your surroundings, your life and how you think about getting fed.

I – Investigate

Check out your neighborhood – what is going on there?  Explore each backyard with a positive, investigative mindset.

Think about how each homeowner’s family might affect your future.


You are beginning to THRIVE !

V  – Victory

Expect Victory.  Expect to find a new warm bed. Plan to head-butt a family you love and who will love you back with warm food and loving strokes.

Don’t make it all about food – but keep in mind people love to feed stray cats so take advantage of that even though you are not “stray”, you must admit you are wandering.  Victory cannot come without acceptance that things may never be the same again; you will have to make new friends and learn to trust again.


Accept that things have changed for you but don’t allow the loss to be overwhelming. Remind yourself that true enjoyment cannot happen in a negative bubble.  You are, for the most part, a positive critter finding enjoyment in little things like watching humming birds bathe in the waterfall of a KOI pond.  As you sit by that KOI pond you may not realize that your new human love-squeeze is watching from the kitchen window….relax you’ve mastered the lesson:

Thrive……Not just stay alive….Thrive …

Yellow Cat

Yellow Cat

Tote Your Pup

Thanks so much to a good follower who commissioned me to paint her friend’s two dogs, Daisy and Fenway.  I’m sharing that painting with you today as a reminder that your pets on one of my Tote Bags can be a real conversation starter PLUS you can be reminded of your fur babies no matter where you go.  Totes come in several sizes….check them out at my on-line store

Totes come in many colors and several sizes.

Totes come in many colors and several sizes.


Ms Ladybug Wakes The Sleeping Princess Pookie

Haven’t posted here for some time….helped my husband run for Congress and rather ignored the rest of my life.  Finally relaxed and began painting again.  Now many orders are coming in for prints and also for pillows.  My paintings make beautiful and fun throw pillow keepsakes.  Check out my store at

Today’s post is a new style I have been toying with. What do you think?

Ms. Ladybug wakes the sleeping Princess Pookie

Ms. Ladybug wakes the sleeping Princess Pookie


How is a person like a country lane?

We are avenues of love to others who come and go in our direction. And like a country lane, over time we change. For example in the springtime of youth, when we are colorfully fresh with bright rosy cheeks, we are teeming with new growth.   As we mature our outward physical growth appears to stop as we, like the lane, bask in the splendor of abundance.   In the summer of life, we give back to others like the trees of the lane give a home to birds and wildlife.

Soon there is a chilling wind that changes the leaves from green to glorious colors and they begin to drop away in a transformation that only God can do. At the end of our life-cycle summer we begin to transform and to realize the importance of life as we cling to our “leaves” of hair, teeth, bones, friends, money…..

And when winter hits the country lane is white with snow while the trees stand quietly waiting. When our winter comes, we too turn white of hair and quietly wait for our final transformation.

2014 12 10 Blakeslee Lane

Contest Winner Announced

Remembering The Dogs of 2015 contest….and our winner is……
MAC — the “streak” who went home to be with the Lord on August 13, 2015 at the ripe old age of 15. While here he lived with Jim and Suzy West who loved to run with him every day. Mac, a Sheltie, was so loving that he even loved the cat (she loved him too). He gently carried her around the house in his mouth!
Besides winning the Sweeney Art Center contest, Mac’s other accomplishments include being featured on the cover of the Gospels of John, one of his papa’s ministries. As our winner, Mac will be featured on a greeting card which will serve to raise funds for animal shelters in three states; Texas, Montana and Florida.
Congratulations to Mac’s family and friends. Thanks to all who voted.