Wednesday, December 28, 2011

140 Posts

So today marks the beginning of another year for my blog.  One year ago on December 28th, Paint on Purpose was born, and it took me 140 posts to fill an entire year with mindless drivel.  Not bad!

I have a lot of goals for this coming year, but as we all know I am really good at setting goals and really not good at achieving them.  So I have a plan.  I have a lot of mini-goals, very achievable mini-goals.  I am hoping this will keep me on track -- all the little successes will add up to some big ones.  Of course, some of my goals are entirely beyond my control, and therefore perhaps I should call them dreams.  But they are still going on the list.  I have big plans for this year, big plans.  Here is my inspiration:

Rock on.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Just a quick note while I am here at work for a minute and have access to a computer.  Since this gift has arrived at its final destination, now I can post a picture.  I sent this to my Uncle Tato as a thank you for being my first Etsy customer.  It took three tries to get something I liked (hence the delay in shipping - sorry, Tato), but I think the end result was pretty good.

Roxie and I are going back home in a minute to sit around and read some more.  Today was supposed to be the third day of my three-day weekend, so of course here I am at work, right?  Oh well.  I have another three-dayer coming up next weekend.  My big task for this afternoon, besides laundry and making a giant vat of creamy broccoli soup, is figuring out how to use the Kindle my family sent me for Christmas!  I need to go sit in the car outside the library to snag their wifi, and download something.  Otherwise, I will be reading the dictionary that came pre-loaded.  Roxie isn't so much into the whole sitting around and doing nothing routine, but she has been a good sport about it.  I thought for sure she was going to be sick on Sunday -- Christmas Eve a plate of cheese and crackers was left unattended on a side table that is poodle-height, and suddenly the cheese was gone.  Hmmm.  I told her we don't like cheese, but I guess she didn't believe me.  Anyway, no ill effects, thank goodness.  Cheese.  Yuck.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Off to a good home....

I get kinda sad when someone buys one of my favorites.  But at least I know it went to a good home!

Ok, it's 11:30 Christmas Eve morning, and we still have presents to wrap and pictures to frame before closing at 1:00.  Gotta go bye.

P.S. - it is now 1:15 p.m., the gallery is closed until Wednesday, I still have one present to deliver, one to wrap and a quick stop to make at the library.  But just wanted to mention that DORKASAURUS is also going off to a good home.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha!  Sweet.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

... and two more!

Monday morning I got an email saying two more of my paintings sold on Etsy!  WOO HOO!  Someone named Kevin from Indiana bought these:

"Sloppy Kisses" and "Wild Flower."  Wow - that was a surprise!  I hope he likes them in real life.

It is late Thursday afternoon, and we are making progress on our needs-to-be-done-before-Christmas list.  Today we crossed off more names than we added.  Derek left a little early to deliver three pieces and to finish the Costco food shopping for Christmas Eve dinner, and after work I am going down to the house to start chopping the nuts I toasted last night for panforte.  We have made panforte every Christmas for probably the last eight years -- it is a traditional Italian yummy made with hazelnuts, almonds, citron, dried pineapple and apricot, orange zest, cinnamon, cocoa and honey.  Wicked good.  I will take pictures when we slice one on Christmas Eve.

Tonight I also have to finish a painting I am giving my landlords for Christmas (they gave me the best Christmas present ever - free rent for December).  Tomorrow will be another fun-filled work day, hopefully finishing everything on the above-mentioned list.  Then tomorrow night I have to bake a bunch of cookies.  Saturday we will be at work from 10:00 until about 1:00, then in the car to Missoula.  Home again Saturday night, and thus begins my three days of doing nothing except sleeping, reading and laundry.  Derek is heading to parts west for a week, so Roxie and I will be staying at the house where it is warmer and there is a washing machine.  A three day weekend, three and a half days of work, then another three day weekend.  I.  CAN'T.  WAIT!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Last one

It is almost midnight.  I wanted to post a quickie to commemorate this having been my last Sunday of work.  Finally back to a five day work week.  WOO HOO!

Now I need to go check and see if I spelled "commemorate" correctly.  It looks weird.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Raining cats and dogs

Here are a couple of paintings that are currently stuck in the "questionable" file.  I am intrigued by their strange color palette, but they are a bit odd.  Tell me what you think:

They look better in real life.  Not much better, but better.  I think I will list them in my Etsy store as a pair, at a reduced price, in the "odd" department.

Things have been crazy at work.  Last night I made a list of all the things that need to be done before Christmas.  There were about 60 things on the list.  We were making good progress this morning -- 4 down, 56 to go.  Then we added 3 more things.  Then another 2.  I think we ended the day ahead of the game, but not by much!  This week is going to be nuts.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A little lovin'

Happy Friday.  Here is a little love:

I say little because it is 7" wide and 5" high.  Small art for small spaces.  And here is some subtle love:

Heh heh.  Subtle, because it is kinda hard to read.  I have a third new painting, but can't post it yet.  It needs to get where it is going first, but I really like the way it came out.

Today was a better day.  No tears, got lots of work done, several more "Can you frame this before Christmas?" people came in, and I sold another one of my paintings.  This one:

Woo hoo!  My last task of the work day was going to be re-stretching a needlework piece, but I just this minute noticed a giant cut on my hand.  Rather than bleed all over some art, I think I will go home 20 minutes early.  Tomorrow is going to be another crazy day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


This is a solidarity painting.

I painted it in support of Bo Muller-Moore, a Vermonter trying to run a small business, so small it is a one-man-show.  You can read about him here.  I am sure you have heard about Bo in the news lately.  If not, read this.  I am thoroughly disgusted.  A corporate giant who, as an aside, is not exactly doing their part to further the education of young children ("eat mor chikin" -- really???), trying to shut this poor guy down.  Makes me crazy.  Go sign his petition.

And that is all for today.  This day has not been a good one for me, but it took an upswing when I sold a painting.

P.S.  Would you believe this is the second painting I have done that says KALE?  'Tis true.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I have a small pile of new paintings (or, conversely, a new pile of small paintings) but I can't post pictures of them today because Derek took the camera to Whitefish.  So I will just tell you what happened to me last night.

I have a part-time part-time job.  Our friend Viki owns a shop -- Viki's Montana Mountain Classics.  She makes vinaigrettes and preserves and flavored vinegars and pies and truffles and fruitcake.  Viki hasn't been feeling so hot lately.  Chemo will do that to you.  So I went in to pour vinaigrette for her last night.  Two buckets of huckleberry, one of raspberry and one of honey poppyseed.  This is the routine:  first I get cases of empty bottles out of the shed, then fill a big flat bucket with water and a pinch of something that sanitizes the bottles.  In they go for a rinse.  Pour pour pour pour pour pour pour.  This involves stirring the vinaigrette with a whisk so, for instance, all those little huckleberries don't settle to the bottom, filling a pouring bucket, pouring almost three bottles, whisking again, filling again, pouring again, until the big bucket is empty.  Lids go on the bottles, then nice green paper toppers get shrinkwrapped to the top of the bottles, then labels.  The bottles hold 13.5 ounces, there are 12 bottles to a case, and I poured five cases of huckleberry.  Cleaned the whisk and the pouring bucket, then out to the shed for more bottles.  Poured a case and a half of raspberry.  Cleaned up again, and poured a case and a half of honey poppyseed.  The honey poppyseed pours like a dream!  With the huckleberry, I always end up with splatters everywhere because of the berries - I had huckleberry vinaigrette on my glasses, on my forehead, and probably in my hair.  But the honey poppyseed is smooooooth.  So here I am, ending the night on a high note.

Then I carried the flat bucket of water back to the sink, dumped it in, and flooded the whole kitchen.  ACK!  I saw water pouring out from under the sink, realized what was happening, and instantly had one of those brain-freeze panic moments.  I couldn't think what to do!  Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink!

When I came to my senses, I got it cleaned up and all was well.  But today my hands are killing me from excessive wringing out of a wet towel.  Lesson learned:  slow and steady wins the race.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I have been waiting to post pictures of the commission piece I did for my dad because I wanted to wait until after he gave it as a gift.  So here's the deal - the colors needed to match this:

That's my mom on the left, with Bob and Debby Burke and their helicopter.  The word is one Debby apparently uses with some frequency.  So this is what I painted:

I don't know, I think it's awesome.  The vast amount of white paint scared me initially, and I had to sit with it for what felt like ages before I was ready to put a word on it.  (And by "vast" I of course mean enough to liberally cover a 6" x 12" canvas, and by "ages" I of course mean about two weeks.)   I hope they liked it.

Here is my latest tree painting:

I really need to figure out how to take better pictures of shiny things.

Last, but certainly not least, today I sold my first painting on Etsy.  Woo hoo!  (I need to do a painting that says WOO HOO!)  Thank you, Tato -- I have a little something extra to send to you with the painting.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7th

Nothing new has been painted or cooked or beaded or otherwise created in my home, so I'm just basically checking in to say I have nothing to say.  I am still recovering from last week - enjoying a lowered stress level.  Speaking of last week, I was so taken with my pink tree I never showed you the wreath I made:

When we were emptying out a seldom-if-never used stairwell at the Museum before the event, we found this enormous grapevine wreath.  It is painted a grayish slate blue color.  It hung for a gazillion years in the gift shop, but at some point it was retired to "storage" in the stairwell.  I bought a roll of ribbon, added a strand of lights, and repurposed both the wreath and some holiday decorations one of our Board members donated.  Voila.  I am quite proud of my efforts, and someone actually bought the darn thing.

I took a two-question test yesterday to determine my spirit animal, and it was a grizzly bear.  I guess that explains my overwhelming desire to hibernate....

Saturday, December 3, 2011

In the bag

Today is my half-birthday.  It is also the day AFTER the Festival of Trees.  Woo hoo, it's done!  Here are some more pictures of my tree:

All the stuff went with the tree.  My friend Maggie bought it.  Thanks, Maggie!  End result of the event: there were more people than I expected, we made more money than I expected, and next year is going to be bigger and better.  We were totally winging it this year and did a remarkably good job.  Sentiment of the day, tho:  THANK GOD IT'S OVER.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Festival of Trees

Let's talk for a minute about how much white paint I used last night.  Just for a minute.

I always thought I was drawn to bright colors, and I am constantly saying how I love to see different colors get all swirly with each other.  So why is it that the paint I use most often is white?  Huh.  Last night I was painting the base for the tree Frame of Reference is donating to the Festival of Trees, a fundraising event for the Museum down the street I am chairing.  All donated items need to be at the Museum in the next two days, and I'm just getting started.  I've had ideas percolating in my head for weeks and, as I've already mentioned in a previous post, the tree looks fabulous in my head.  Now to see if the reality is as good as the fantasy.

Anyway, white paint.  Loads of it.  And yes, of course, like you even have to ask, I did get plenty of paint on my clothes.  Sigh.  I have already posted a picture of one of the ornaments I made.  Now here is the tree topper:

Stay tuned for the finished product.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and, although we should all be giving thanks for what we have every day of the year, this is the time when we actually say it out loud.  I am eternally grateful and thankful for my family and my friends, the people who support me even when I am at my most unsupportable.  I am thankful for all the little things, because some days that's all we get.  Most of all, I am thankful that I was rescued by the best poodle-face dog in the history of the universe.  She doesn't always make the best employee, but she is always the best companion.  I don't know what I did without her.

Thanksgiving Day is poodle's birthday.  Happy almost 2, baby girl.

Tonight we are making two pies, pumpkin and cranberry orange.  Maybe I will paint something new and fabulous.  Or maybe I will paint something old and fabulous, like this which I just varnished very early this morning:

See, I paint something I like and then keep on painting it, over and over and over.  And it makes me happy.  A purple tree for Thanksgiving.  What more do you need.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Just checking in.

So I made the switch from George Winston to Joe Pass.  And after less than one trip through, I went back to George.  He's not very peppy, but works quite well for background music.  Just thought you should know.

Also, this is the only pretty item that has come out of my studio/kitchen lately:

Sweet, eh?  And ridiculously easy.  Go right now to the store and buy a package of vanilla flavored almond bark, some cute sprinkles and two bags of pretzel rods.  Melt the almond bark and coat 2/3 of each pretzel - I used the back of a spoon.  Put on wax paper and sprinkle with cute sprinkles.  Eat.

I also made this, but it's not quite as pretty as the pretzels.  I named it Evergreen:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I get stuck in a rut when I listen to music -- I will play the same CD over and over and over.  I do not have a problem with this.  John Denver and I were pretty tight for most of the summer.  Lately I have been thoroughly, one hundred percent, absolutely LOVING a CD I bought at Borders when they were having their going-out-of-business sale.  I have been a fan of The New Pornographers for a few years, so when I saw a CD I don't already have, I bought it.  Very good investment of about three dollars.  It is called "Together."  I highly suggest you rush out immediately, or as soon as you finish reading this post, and buy it.  Fantastic music.


Last night it was time to make a change.  I was working on ornaments for the tree Frame of Reference is donating to the Festival of Trees.  I felt this called for Christmas music so I dug out George Winston's "December" and listened two times through while I worked.  It might not be peppy enough, so tonight I may have to switch to Joe Pass.  But let it be known that we have entered the season of Christmas music.  Let it also be known that I love Taco Bell's Canon when it is played on piano, specifically by George Winston, but I'm still switching to jazz.

Here is a sneak peek of one of the ornaments.  You will have to wait to see the completed tree.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hey Dad! Guess what!

Yep, I finished that piece you asked for a hundred years ago.  I'm not going to post pictures of it yet because I want you to see it in real life first.  I am packing it up today.  This one was a real struggle for me, and I'm not sure why.  I think it is the colors.  There is a lot of white.  Now I love it.  I am beyond fascinated by how swirly colors and texture and words all work together.  So if you don't like it, send it back and I will keep it!

I also painted two new trees, one of which I am going to keep.  And I'm going to turn it into cards.  The pre-press work is kinda expensive, especially considering the original painting is only 5" x 7".  But it will be worth it because I will have a very crisp digital image in a way higher resolution than I could ever need, so I can have it reproduced on anything, any time.  Maybe I will put it on a shirt....

Anyway, it is the first of the following two:

True confession time:  I painted these before I finished the piece for my dad.  Couldn't help myself.

Friday, November 4, 2011


First of all, I just added one of my favorite paintings to my Etsy store:

I hope nobody buys it.

Second, third, and fourthly, here is what distracted me the other night, when I should have been painting something else instead:

As I said in the last post, I am going to donate these to a fundraiser.  As a set.

Sometimes I surprise myself.  I love these little trees.  I am calling them Tree-O.  That would be short for "Trio of Trees.  Oh."  Now I shall paint one for Roxie, and one for me.  After I finish the piece for my dad.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


One down, six to go.  I am making slow progress on "wording" the paintings I have started.  I listed this one on my Etsy store today - I think it is the only brand new piece on there (so brand new, in fact, I haven't finished varnishing it yet):

It is a little bluer than I intended but that's ok.  Some dogs like blue.

Instead of finishing up another one last night - like, for instance, the one I told my dad I was putting in the mail last week - I did a little tree piece.  It is just a little something something, but I really like how it turned out.  I think I will do two more, frame them with dark red moulding, and donate them to the fundraiser I am chairing.  It is a Festival of Trees and we are growing it from the ground up.  But that's a story for another day.  Like after it is all over, if it doesn't kill me first.  By then I will have pictures of the FANTASTICALLY FABULOUS three foot tall tree I am donating, which so far looks excellent in my head.  I am very creative, you see, really quite clever.  At least in my head.  Gotta work on execution.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It has become abundantly clear.

Coming out of retirement was a grand gesture.  Not to toot my own horn, but I think it was a necessity.  But MAN.  It sure is time consuming.

That is all.
Or, rather, that is all I have time for today.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Get 'er done.

I apparently have writer's block again.  There are seven paintings at home waiting to be worded, and instead I did this:

Huh.  Think back - this has two friends already and will end up being a Four Seasons series.  But all those other canvases are feeling neglected.  I even know what most of them will say, I just haven't been able to get 'er done.  Admittedly I was distracted by a great book I was reading.  It is called Stone's Fall (I think) and is by Iain Pears.  I picked it up for less than three bucks when Borders went out of business.  Well worth the three bucks.  And now I am back into John Sandford.  Books are like crack for me.  My favorite part of the day is when I am curled up on the couch under a blanky with my poodle, a book and a bowl of popcorn.  If only I had a woodstove - that would be heavenly.  Someday....

Have you looked at my little Etsy store?  There are 30-odd pieces on there, and if I ever finish some of the new words, there will be even more!  Get 'er done.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


My high-school friend Elissa owns a small business in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont.  They were hit pretty hard by hurricane Irene and spent six weeks cleaning mud off furniture, hand-washing linens, waiting for their building to be habitable again.  Last I heard they did not qualify for any FEMA assistance.  It was very heartwarming to read about how the Brattleboro business community helped each other through the disaster.  As a small business owner myself, I'm pretty darn sure that being closed for six weeks would cripple me.  But they got back in their space about two weeks ago and are open for business!  Check them out online at

I bought two beautiful pillow covers from Adivasi when they were trying to raise some money by listing items for sale online.  They are handmade by someone right in Brattleboro, and I figured they would either make a lovely addition to my couch, or a lovely Christmas gift.  Turns out they will be a lovely addition to my couch.  Someone won't give them up.

She won't even share with me.  (And yes, that is white paint on the couch pillow.  Damn stuff is everywhere.  Grr.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Back on track. I think.

You know, it is pretty difficult to single-handedly put a train back on its tracks.  Ultimately it will be very rewarding, but the day to day aspect is daunting.  So much so that this week it was a hell of a lot easier to just stand around and look at the wreckage.  I did make a little progress -- one of the cars is back upright and I gave it a little push.  The rest is coming.  But it's hard work.

Did that make any sense?  No?  Bummer, because that's all I have to say about it.

I am working on another commission piece that I hope to finish tonight or tomorrow.  The color scheme is out of the ordinary for me, so I am reserving judgment until the end.

I am also getting the urge to paint something big.  I wish I had the room to really throw some paint around.  Make a huge mess.  Now THAT would be rewarding.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Okay, I did it.  I have a lot of things to tweak, but the ball is now rolling.  Tell all your friends and family.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Working hard? Or hardly working....

This weekend I broke all the molds.  Well, two of them.  First of all, I started a painting and didn't finish it.  Normally I like to do the whole thing (unless it is a word painting) in one swell foop, because I like to see all the pretty swirly colors.  This time I painted the background and let it dry.  In the next couple of days I will finish it.  It's 50/50 whether it will turn out okay.

Second of all, I mixed a color.  Yep, I mixed a color.  For my commission piece.  I did a second, third and fourth draft, and so far we are three for three that the winner is number two.  (Heh heh - that sounds funny.)  No pictures yet, just this hint:

And just to show that I have, at times, been working, here is my evidence:

That last one I call "Still Life with Penguin."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I can't think of a title for this post....

Well, the 30 days that September hath have blown away on the breeze and suddenly it is October.  How did that happen so quickly?  I have no new paintings to share, but have made progress on my potential commission.  My first attempt is pretty good, so I hope the next few will be even better.  In the meantime, here is something old:

And here is something weird:

That is all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Someone came in on Saturday and commissioned me to do a painting for him.  GREAT!  But I'm not sure I can do it -- it's not a word painting.  YIKES!  Sunday I painted the backgrounds of four test papers, and yesterday I bought the model from which I will work (it's really cute).  Tonight will be the real test.  I am not one hundred percent confident I can pull this off, but I AM one hundred percent confident I can try very hard.  I will keep you posted.

On an unrelated topic, Poodle is feeling punky today.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's your dinosaur name?

This one is for poodle:

This next one (and for my next number...) is still under consideration.  The panel is just laying on top of a frame to show what it would look like, so disregard the somewhat raw edges that are visible.

I think I like it.

Thirdly, here is the current view out our front window.  The furniture piece is new (100 year old mesquite top with a black walnut base -- stunning).  The Big Dig is also new.